CORK legend Rena Buckley is set to feature in the new season of TG4’s Laochra Gael.
The popular series will return later this year and will have documentaries on the sporting life of 18 time All-Ireland winner Buckley, as well as the careers of Offaly’s 1982 All-Ireland winning hero Séamus Darby, Kilkenny defensive star Jackie Tyrrell, Dublin footballer Ciaran Duff, Limerick hurler Andrew O’Shaughnessy and Kerry football great Colm Cooper.
Buckley announced her retirement from inter-county football and camogie last year.
The 32-year-old has amassed 18 All-Ireland titles in football and camogie. Remarkably, Buckley started and finished 15 of those finals and is the only player in history to captain her county to both crowns.
The 10-time All-Star took a year out from inter-county football in 2017, but captained the camogie side to All-Ireland glory in September to become the most decorated GAA player in history.
To date, GAA stars Juliet Murphy Ann & Angela Downey, Cora Staunton, Niamh Kindlon, Annette Clarke and Cliodhna O’Connor have all featured on the infamous Laochra Gael and 18-time All-Ireland winner Buckley will join that list of leading Irish sportswomen.
Renowned for its commitment to Women’s sport and in more recent times its commitment to the 20X20 initiative, TG4 is living up to its name after announcing a series of new documentaries focusing on the stories of women sports stars.
Mianach na mBan will see Aoife Ní Chasaide present a three-part series looking at the advances that have come about for women in a sporting context. It will feature stories of and contributions from stars including Katie Taylor, Sonia O’Sullivan, Dame Mary Peters and Derval O’Rourke.
Jump Girls will be a follow up to the widely praised Jump Boys from six years ago, following the lives of female jockeys like Rachael Blackmore and the recently retired Katie Walsh and Nina Carberry.
In further positive news for women’s sport this week, it was announced that the Wicklow intermediate ladies football team will be part of a historic football double-header in Joule Park, Aughrim on the 10th of February.
Aughrim will see a first-ever double header involving the male and female sides, with John Evans’ men’s clash with Limerick being preceded by James Kelly’s first game in charge of the Wicklow ladies against Down.
In 2018, the Ladies Gaelic Football Association made significant progress in organising ‘double-headers’ alongside men’s National League fixtures.
In total, eight Lidl NFL ties served as curtain-raisers ahead of matches involving the men’s teams from the host counties.
Five of the eight games are high-profile Lidl NFL Division 1 showdowns, with three games in Division 2 also accommodated.
The Wicklow women will be hoping to build on the league success of 2018 in which they won the Division 4 title, remaining unbeaten throughout the league. Although no silverware was secured in the championship, the side reached the Leinster Final and the All-Ireland quarter-finals.
In contrast to their female counterparts, the men’s side struggled in both league and championship, they failed to secure a win the league and were knocked out by All-Ireland champions Dublin in the Leinster quarter-finals.
In a statement, the Wicklow LGFA county board said that they were “delighted” by the development.
“This is the first time a double bill featuring our Ladies and Men’s football teams has been agreed and sanctioned and is surely a sign of the cooperation which now exists between our two sporting bodies.” Wicklow will be hoping to kick start their season with a win against Junior All-Ireland champions Limerick, but it will be a tricky opening fixture for new manager James Kelly.
The Ballinakill, County Laois-native succeeds Mick O’Rourke, who stepped down from the role in August after guiding Wicklow to the division four league title, as well as a Leinster championship final.
Kelly takes the reigns of the Wicklow job having previously coached the Laois All-Ireland Minor B winning squad in 2013, as well as managing the Leinster championship winning schools side at Heywood at U14 and U16 level.