Buckley has won praise wherever he has coached, whether that’s in Galway, Clare or Limerick but he’s still a hometown hero in Castleisland, Co Kerry for getting a fist to a Martin Downey sideline ball in the final moments of the All-Ireland Club SFC final of 1985. That St Patrick’s Day in Tipperary town witnessed the shock of Castleisland Desmonds defeating the famed St Vincent’s of Dublin, 2-2 to 0-7 to claim their only All-Ireland club title.
Colleagues say he wasn’t the greatest trainer himself, but over the years Buckley has forged a successful coaching career, earning a glowing reputation.
Buckley won Clare county titles with St Joseph’s Miltown-Malbay in 1990 and Ennis amalgamation outfit Faughs in 1994, and also made substantial progress with Kilrush Shamrocks after that. In 2006 he served as joint manager of the Clare senior squad with Michael Brennan, and the following year was drafted into the Galway football set-up as forwards coach by Peter Ford.
Last year he guided Galway club Moycullen to the All-Ireland intermediate football title and also got involved with Mickey Ned O’Sullivan as Limerick senior football trainer, where he continues to earn rave reviews.