'I wouldn’t go back on my word': Buckley's childhood pledge to make her acceptance speech in Irish

“When we were young, we used always say if you ever got the chance you’d definitely do your spiel as Gaeilge.”

RENA BUCKLEY WALKS in the media auditorium shortly after Cork’s latest All-Ireland camogie success with the O’Duffy Cup casually hanging from her right hand.

Rena Buckley before the trophy presentation Gary Carr / INPHO Gary Carr / INPHO / INPHO

She’s become well acquainted with the trophy over the years. Buckley was crowned camogie champion for the seventh time, in addition to the 11 All-Ireland titles she already picked up with the county in Ladies Football.

It was initially suspected Buckley was the first GAA player to captain All-Ireland winning teams in both codes.

But after some digging on Sunday night, it emerged that Mary Geaney skippered Kerry to the Ladies Football All-Ireland in 1976 and then captained her adopted Cork to the camogie crown in 1980.

Buckley will have to do with being the first player to manage the feat with her native county. Not that it’ll matter to her. For a woman who has won 18 All-Ireland medals, she has no airs and graces about her.

“I never imagined it (winning 18 medals),” she smiles. “It’s frightening. I don’t know how you’d describe it. I don’t hail from a massive GAA house. Obviously my parents are hugely supportive and they’re involved now.

“It’s just I really enjoy playing, I get great enjoyment from it. It’s a fantastic thing to be involved in. I’m really, really luck. It’s made my 20s although I’ve seen the end of them now! It’s been a fantastic period of my life.

Anna Farrell and Rena Buckley James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

“They’re all in a press at home. They’re not organised and on display but they’re all in the one place. I’m sure when I finish up, whenever that will be, I’ll organise them and might frame them but at the moment I’m just enjoying the challenges ahead. We’ll see how it goes.”

As a youngster, she vowed if she ever got the chance to make a speech on the steps of the Hogan Stand, she’d do in her native tongue. So it transpired.

“At home, my parents and my family like the bit of Gaeilge,” she says. “I suppose I’ve good conversational Irish.

“I remember when we were young, we used always say if you ever got the chance you’d definitely do your spiel as Gaeilge. I got my chance so I said I wouldn’t go back on my word.”

Losing Kilkenny manager Ann Downey was gracious in defeat, congratulating Buckley on her tremendous achievement after the game.

“All I can do is congratulate Cork and congratulate Rena on captaining a camogie and football team to All-Irelands,” she said.

“No other player has done it and it’s brilliant for her and I congratulate herself and Gemma (O’Connor) on their careers.”

Buckley still has a bit to go before she catches Downey’s 12 camogie titles, but at 30-years-old, time is on her side.

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