CORK’S Garry Buckley is currently in his third season with Sligo Rovers after joining the Bit O’Red from Cork City in 2020.
Buckley initially joined the club on a one-year contract but after buying into the ideas of the club, the player now has a contract with Sligo until the end of the 2023 league season.
The centre-back admits that he is surprised by how well his time has gone.
“I signed a one year deal back in 2020 when Liam Buckley was manager. I remember just being very impressed by his ideas and how he spoke of the club. At the time, I did think that it was the right thing for me to go and get a fresh challenge,” Buckley said.
“I thought to myself that I might as well give it a go for a year and see how things develop. I’ve enjoyed my time here and that’s why I have stayed a lot longer than I initially signed for.
“To be honest; I didn’t expect things to go as well as they have. I’ve really bought into living here.
“My girlfriend moved up with me as well and she loves living here. It is a great club. The fans really get behind the team.
“I have 18 months remaining on my current deal. The aim has to be to try to get closer to Shamrock Rovers and try to win a cup.
I didn’t come here just for a laugh and to play games. I came because I believed the club had the potential to challenge for trophies.”
Before signing for Sligo, Buckley spent several successful seasons with his hometown club Cork City, including winning the League and two FAI Cups.
At 28, the defender has a few more seasons left at playing at the top but doesn’t imagine that he will return to City before his playing career ends.
“By the time my contract ends, I’ll be 30 and entering the twilight years of my career. However I still feel I would have a lot more years in me especially now playing as a centre-half.
I would be doubtful that I would ever line out for City again. But then again I would never say never. I loved my time at City.
"I enjoyed so much success there and it was always my ambition to play for the club but I have had my time there and I’m pleased with how it went but again you just never know with football.
“I can’t predict the future. Whatever happens, I am a fan of the club and when I do finish playing I will be down to Turner’s Cross to support the team.
“I’m just focused on playing with Sligo for now and trying to achieve success here.”
With a newborn in the house, Buckley says the arrival of his son has given him a different outlook on life.
“My young fella is nine months old. Of course having a child changes your life. It’s no longer about just focusing on a game and watching every little thing you eat.
“Your attention is no longer solely on football. Before, certain things would affect me after a game and it would affect me for days afterwards.
“That has changed now. It’s not that it doesn’t hurt when we lose a game or something hasn’t gone right for me in a match, but when I come home I tend to leave football problems at the door.
“I think you have to really. I come home and you do have to switch into parent mode.”
Looking forward to the future Buckley intends to complete his coaching badges but doesn’t predict he will go into professional management in the league.
The 28-year-old also would like to complete a third-level education course before retiring from playing.
“I suppose I will eventually do my coaching badges even though the idea of coaching in this country professionally doesn’t appeal to me.
“There is no real security in it. I’ve been in a similar situation most of my life with the limited security of playing.
“I do like the idea of staying competitive. It would be more appealing to me to manage a local side and to try to win local leagues and intermediate cups.
“Outside of football I intend to do a college course at some stage but it has to be the right one.
“I don’t want to just do one for the sake of it. It has to be something that I would be interested in.”