On one of the saddest occasions for Sligo Rugby Club, we take a moment to remember our great friend and true club legend Aidan ‘Bucks’ Buckley.
Bucks moved to Sligo in 1976 taking up a role as part of the senior management team in Abbott Ireland, opening the new plant in Ballytivnan. He immediately connected with Sligo Rugby Club.
Having played in the front row in school in Cork, and with his home club Cobh Pirates before moving to Dublin where he played with both Lansdowne RFC and Skerries RFC, his knowledge and enthusiasm was welcomed with open arms in Sligo, particularly by his soon to be close friends George Draper and Brian Mullan. Aidan also developed a close relationship with the late George Hamlet, whom he devoted a lot of time to caring for in Georges’ final years. Following the founding of Polar West by Aidan together with Declan Kelly in Gurteen — which subsequently became ‘Donegal Catch’ — George fondly referred to Bucks as ‘Fish Fingers’. Bucks worked on the committee at Sligo RFC for a number of years before taking over the President’s chair for the first time in the 1982-83 season.
Always striving to develop and grow the club, Bucks was again appointed President in the 1991 season and this time remained in the role for 3 seasons. This was a hugely important period for the club as it included Sligo’s first foray into All Ireland League rugby, which was a massive step up for the club, both on and off the field.
During this period Bucks put in trojan work to get the club up to the highest possible standard and always represented the club with the style and class he was so well known for. At this time he also oversaw the initiation of the first women's rugby team in Sligo and will be dearly remembered by the women who pioneered the women's game in Sligo, whom he supported with great pride.
It is the aim of every President to leave the club in a better place at the end of their tenure then it was at the beginning and there is no doubt that Bucks fulfilled that target with much to spare.
In the subsequent years Bucks took on the role of Football Chairman where he worked closely with another club stalwart and close friend Vinnie O’Brien, who had stepped into the role of Club Chairman. Bucks, as was always his way, took the role head on and his work in the position earned him the honour of Club Person of the Year in the 2002/2003 season.
A wonderful element of Bucks’ character was his caring nature. Overseas players such as Nigel Morgan, Simon Galvan and Paddy Pearson were all grateful recipients of Bucks’ and his wife Brenda’s hospitality and the loyalty to the club shown by those men is a testament to the way that they were looked after on their arrival in Sligo.
Bucks also gave huge support to the McCoy family on the untimely passing of their son Damian during a match for Sligo, selflessly opening his home to the McCoy family. The O’Hehir family will also be eternally grateful for the care and support Bucks gave to Eddie during his period of illness and passing.
Up to recent times, until health issues unfortunately curtailed his activities, Bucks loved nothing better than meeting his fellow Alickadoos for coffee on a Friday before heading off on the ‘Magic Bus’ to whatever match was being played on the weekend, where he always gave important words of encouragement for the team and management no matter what the result was on the day.
With Bucks’ daughter Róisín now continuing his great legacy in her role as club secretary, he can rest easy knowing that his beloved club is in good hands.
Sligo RFC has lost a friend, a father figure, an ambassador and a true gentleman with natural class that doesn’t come around too often. You will be sadly missed Bucks!