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12th Jun 2023

Conor McDonald’s story about Cillian Buckley sums him up perfectly

Lee Costello

Cillian Buckley

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“He’s been a brilliant servant.”

Cillian Buckley is the man of the moment, but the Kilkenny legend has been putting his body on the line for his county for years, and Wexford’s Conor McDonald sums him up perfectly.

Buckley scored right at the death against Galway in the Leinster final to win his county the provincial title when it seemed to have slipped from their grasp.

The Black Cats were two points down, when the ball found its way to the corner back who had came onto the field as a substitute earlier in the game.

Cillian Buckley

Despite not scoring a championship goal for Kilkenny before, Buckley took the shot on and found the back of the net in emphatic fashion.

McDonald was speaking exclusively on the GAA Hour podcast when he told the lads in studio about one of the first times that he came up against the tigerish defender.

“He’s a typical Kilkenny back, he’s good in the air, he’s athletic, he’s always there or there abouts with the hurl, I remember one time especially in 2017.

Cillian Buckley

“We beat Kilkenny down in Wexford Park, and in the last couple of minutes I got a ball handed out to me, and I thought that this was on a plate like, and literally out of nowhere, this fella just comes out, literally out of nowhere, with a diving block.

“I remember thinking to myself, I need to look back and see where he came from, or did I just completely not see what happened.

“That’s the kind of player he is, he’s a typical Kilkenny back, heart on his sleeve stuff, came out with some unbelievable ball yesterday.

“I think his interview was good – I think for GAA players people are afraid to express themselves a little bit in interviews, and say how they feel and not give the generic answers to the questions that are asked.

Cillian Buckley

“There are so many questions a reporter can ask you, so it was nice to hear him show the emotion and show what it meant to him because it’s a long time he’s been playing for Kilkenny, and serving your time as a player, like I said there, he’s given an awful lot of his time.

“Injuries and stuff have kind of hampered his career a little bit in the last number of years, but he’s been a brilliant servant and it always seem to happen for these kind of players when they get to the latter end of their careers.”


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