Saturday 7 December 2019

'Legend' Buckley stars as Donoughmore land All-Ireland

All-Ireland Ladies club JFC Final

24 November 2019; Rena Buckley of Donoughmore receives the Player of the Match award from Marie Hickey, LGFA President, following the All-Ireland Ladies Junior Club Championship Final match between Donoughmore and MacHale Rovers at Duggan Park in Ballinasloe, Co Galway. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
24 November 2019; Rena Buckley of Donoughmore receives the Player of the Match award from Marie Hickey, LGFA President, following the All-Ireland Ladies Junior Club Championship Final match between Donoughmore and MacHale Rovers at Duggan Park in Ballinasloe, Co Galway. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Donoughmore manager Donal Dineen knows Rena Buckley's legendary status will only grow after she picked an All-Ireland Junior Club medal in victory over MacHale Rovers at Duggan Park in Ballinasloe.

It was an epic encounter between the Cork and Mayo clubs, and as the floodlights were switched on for extra-time, the former Rebel dual star was the main figure.

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Niamh Lohan and Rachel Kearns scored the goals for their respective sides but it was seven points from the boot of the 32-year-old Buckley that swung the game.

It was a 21st national medal for Buckley while her team-mates basked in the glory of a first All-Ireland crown for Donoughmore since they were crowned senior champions in 2003.

"Everyone knows Rena is a legend," said Dineen. "She is a fantastic role model for the younger girls. You would see her in the car park coaching them after training. That is the type of person she is."

Many of the Donoughmore players weren't even born when the club won their last All-Ireland. It was a third straight win in this competition for Cork clubs, after Aghada and Glanmire, and Dineen was thrilled to see his daughter Deirdre involved at wing-back for Donoughmore.

"She always dreamt of winning an All-Ireland. She followed the great Donoughmore teams down through the years," said Dineen. "This was her dream and now it has been fulfilled for her."

But the wait goes on for a Mayo club to win the junior championship. Knockmore failed in 2008 and this was another agonising defeat.

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"We gave it our all and left everything on the pitch but it sucks coming second, we hate it," said MacHale Rovers' joint manager Jarlath Tolan.

"We had such a fantastic year, built ourselves up from the ground right to where we are, the second-best team in the country, that is a pretty good achievement.

"But we knew we were up against it. There is an awful lot of experience in that Donoughmore team and they were excellent."

Scorers - Donoughmore: R Buckley 0-7 (6f); N Lohan 1-2; A Buckley 0-2; J Brew Dinan 0-1. MacHale Rovers: R Kearns 1-5 (1-2f); R Maughan 0-5 (2f); N Maughan 0-1.

Donoughmore - C O'Connell; L McCarthy, Aisling Barrett, Aoife Barrett; A Quigley, M Dilworth, D Dineen; A Buckley, C Keane; E O'Reilly, R Buckley, J Brew Dinan; A Greene, E Lyons, N Lohan. Subs: A Walsh for A Buckley (30), A Condon for McCarthy (60), S O'Callaghan for Lyons (79).

MacHale Rovers - N Larkin; D Kelly, L Maughan, C Kelly; C Walsh, A Deane, G Murray; M Larkin, E Keane; K Maughan, S Maughan, E Murray; R Maughan, R Kearns, S Walsh. Subs: A Gough for Kelly (20), N Maughan for E Murray (42).

Ref - S Coyle (Donegal).

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