"There's more behind me than ahead of me now" - Buckley gives emotional interview as Cats refuse to die
If you thought Kilkenny were going to lose a certain resilience with the departure of Brian Cody, well then, as the old saying goes, you'd better think again.
It's a new dawn, it's a new day but as Michael Duignan said in The Sunday Game commentary box, the Derek Lyng era has exploded into life, and it has done so with one of the 'greatest Kilkenny wins of all.'
Maybe there's life a post-Cody-life after all.
This Leinster final victory over Galway was snatched from the jaws of defeat and, like so many of the Cats' victories down through the years, it was seized by an attitude that never said die.
Think of a 36-year-old TJ Reid struggling to stand up in the dying throes of the game, sustained by the idea that, unlikely as it may have seemed to mere mortals, Kilkenny still had a chance.
These are not mere mortals. They still had a chance.
That chance fell to Cillian Buckley - an unlikely goalscorer admittedly, he took it to score his first ever championship goal - but a big game player no doubt.
Buckley is one of those stalwarts that you can always rely on and, having come on as a sub, he stepped up with a momentous second half catch minutes earlier.
Kilkenny match-winner Cillian Buckley admitted that he thought the Leinster title has slipped from his side's grasp before he stepped up to hit a stunning goal with the final puck of the ball. #TheSundayGame pic.twitter.com/hNMNi1slSY
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) June 11, 2023
But he saved the best 'til last. His interview with Damien O'Meara on RTE afterwards summed up the emotion of the occasion, both for him and his team.
"I don't get into that position too often," said an ecstatic Buckley.
"Being honest, I looked for a pass and looked again and it wasn't on.
"A shot...can I call it a shot? But it managed to get in and, ah, look talk about special moments, to do that for your team and to win the Leinster final after it, it's just savage, it's a dream come through.
"And it opens up the year for us now."
The interviewer asked more about the impact scoring a goal like that can have - and that was when the Dicksboro club-man became visibly emotional.
"The 75th minute of a Leinster final, there's more behind me than ahead of me now, so I said I'd take it on.
"And as I said at the start, a dream come through, to celebrate it with the lads, there was a pile-on at the end that I'll never forget.
"Even with my family there at the end, I've been playing with Kilkenny for 12 years, honestly, it's special," he added.
"I've had some great moments up here, All-Irelands...and I want to do that again this year, but that will drive me on and it'll drive the boys on.
"It's moments like that that make years, I'm happy to be a part of it, but there were a lot of big moments."
This was right out of the Cody playbook - and what a fitting and lovely side-note it was that, high up in the Hogan stand, the greatest manager of all was smiling like a cheshire cat.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) June 11, 2023
As we've said so many times before, they haven't gone away you know.