ALL things considered the 2020 season was quite a satisfactory one for Garry Buckley at Sligo Rovers.
Despite what was a slow initial start of the Premier Division last term, Sligo recovered impressively to climb from the bottom of the table after lockdown and secure European football for 2021.
Buckley has settled into life very well in Sligo and was impressive throughout the past twelve months.
He formed a solid partnership at the back with John Mahon, as the former Cork City man looks to add another memorable chapter to his career while with the West Of Ireland based side.
It is a move that has thus far been a fruitful one and there is potential for growth both individually and collectively at Sligo.
Given that Cork City and Cobh Ramblers will be lining out in the First Division for 2021, keeping tabs on the progression of Buckley in Sligo will be one of the main sources of Leeside interest in the Irish top flight next year.
27-year-old Buckley came through the underage system at City and was to become a first team regular, including being a member of the City double winning team of 2017.
The 2020 season was a fine opening campaign for Buckley from an individual perspective. He was an impressive performer throughout, establishing himself as a first choice centre back at Rovers.
It seems very much like Buckley is hungry to build on the success from his days at Cork and wants to win more trophies during his spell with Sligo.
Garry also is relishing the prospect of European football next term and the target also for Sligo is to make European qualification a regular occurrence over the coming years ahead.
“I’m here to win trophies, play in Europe and achieve things. I know the potential and we have to capitalise on it,” he tells the Sligo website.
“It won’t be easy in this league, every other club is looking to do the same. Talent wise we have the basis to do it.
“I saw the potential in the club when I joined and I think that potential is growing stronger. Getting to Europe this season was a bonus when you consider the start we had and our target was getting out of a tough position after the lockdown.
“There are top players at the club and the manager has targeted improving it even further.
“There is a core of a group that can go on to be among the best in the country. I know how good this group is, it’s the best I’ve been involved in for a while.
“I had spoken with the manager for about going to centre-half one day, it was a position I felt I’d be comfortable in. I was injured in the first game back against Derry and that put me out for a month which was tough to take.
“But coming back I formed that partnership with John(Mahon), which I enjoyed and thought worked well. I get on well with John and I think we complement each other.” Buckley was with Cork City during what was a more fruitful time then the current state the Rebel Army are in. But for now, all eyes are on the journey he is undertaking at Sligo.
“I moved to Sligo for a new challenge and I’m delighted with how it has worked out so far. My girlfriend moved up here with me and she loves it too so I can have no complaints.
“We’re also a close group of players who live close to each other and get on well. Next season has to be one where we find a consistency over the course of the year.
“We need to get the form we had after the season resumed and do it over the season.” There is no doubt that Garry is at Sligo during what looks like an exciting time ahead for the club.
Rovers will be back in Europe for the first time next season since 2014.
While Sligo are busy assembling a decent squad for next term, as they seek to push on and target a finish in the top three of the Premier Division.
Giving his views on the Leeside native, Sligo boss Liam Buckley feels his namesake can continue to grow and play a big role in the future development at the club.
“Garry has had a good first season here. He has shown what a good defender he is and that he can play either position to a high standard.
“The partnership with John Mahon worked well for us. I do feel next season that partnership can develop even more.
“Garry is a very accomplished footballer and with the style of play we are trying to develop here, he will be an important player for us from that end.
“He brings that experience of winning big matches and trophies and I know he’s determined to achieve more.
“That is what we want here. It’s another great addition for our group, we’re very happy he’ll be with us for next season.” The ambition that exists at Sligo is very much evident by the signing of Greg Bolger, someone whom Buckley will be very familiar with based on their time at Cork City.
Sligo Rovers are making very progressive strides and Garry Buckley will be seeking to play his part in what they hope is another big year for the club in 2021.