The late Bosco Buckley
On June 2, a large attendance assembled in St John’s Church, Kilkenny and later at St Kieran’s Cemetery, to pay their final respects at the ashes interment ceremony of Bosco Buckley, who, after a long a protracted illness, passed away peacefully five weeks previously in Clacton-On-Sea.
Writing an appreciation to a life-long friend and sporting colleague would probably be adverse to his kind and unassuming nature so, with a rapidly diminishing memory I will attempt to encapsulate his life and times by simply “calling it as it was”.
Martin “Bosco” Buckley was born in No. 3 Wolfe Tone Street in 1938 shortly after his parents Stephen and Statia took up permanent residency on the Johnswell Road, and it was here that Bosco along with brothers Paddy and Gerry and sisters Rita, Bernie, Theresa, Marie, Pauline and Cora were all reared.
He received his primary and secondary education in Kilkenny C.B.S. and here he became immersed in what was to become the sporting love of his life namely the game of hurling.
Bosco, being an exceptionally talented player, achieved considerable success at underage level, most notably while playing in the 1956 All-Ireland Minor Hurling Final, though defeated by a Jimmy Doyle inspired Tipperary.
Some of his team mates on that day who went on to become household names in Kilkenny Hurling History included,
Georgie Leahy, Ted Carroll, Pa Dillon, Sean Buckley and Paddy Moran. Although he did line out for Dicksboro at Minor level, most of his subsequent club hurling was played with clubs connected to St. Johns Parish.
He played with the famed “Eire Og” club, but spent the majority of his hurling career with his beloved “Newpark Sarsfields” under the guidance of his great friend and mentor Tommy Long, finally capturing the Kilkenny Junior Hurling Championship in 1971 which led to great celebrations.
It is worthwhile noting that some years later, he had the rather rare pleasure of lining out in the same team as his eldest son Eugene for “Ye Faire City”, a new club at the time in Kilkenny Hurling and Football.
They say “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” as two of his grandchildren, Sean and Billy Ryan of Graigue-Ballycallan, have represented Kilkenny at under-age level, while Billy is now considered a great prospect as a senior panellist. Bosco would undoubtedly by very happy with that and with his performances for the senior team this season.
His own family life began in September 1959 when he married his childhood sweetheart, Peggy Bateman.
They set up home in 47, Newpark where they raised seven children, including sons, Eugene, Stephen, Thomas, Martin and David and daughters Frances and Catherine.
In the natural progression of life, became the proud grand-parents of Lisa, Laura, Emma, Billy, Sean, Orla, Ciara, Tara, Stephanie, Lauren, Ryan, Lucy and last but not least, great-granddaughter Ayla.
Although in the process of raising his own family with Peggy, personal tragedy occurred with the rather sudden passing of his father Stephen in 1967, to whom Bosco was devoted.
He unselfishly adopted the mantle of father figure to his eight siblings and played a huge part in their guidance and upbringing, which is greatly acknowledged and appreciated to this day.
Bosco had quite a diverse working life. Blessed with an extraordinary“ sales technique”, he began, at the age of sixteen, his employment years in Crotty’s Bakery in Parliament Street.
From there he went on to work in Lambskin’s on the Kells Road, Kilkenny and for Gateaux Confectionery.
He then set up on his own for a time in the fruit and vegetable business where it is widely accepted he was most kind and considerate to the lesser well off.
In 1986, his life took a turn when personal circumstances brought him to England, where he married again to Maura Mackey from Glenmore.
Together, they managed several pubs for a brewery chain in the greater London and Luton area until around 2007.
The onset of Alzheimer’s signaled the imminent conclusion of Bosco’s working life.
With Maura, they battled this dreaded illness with courage and dignity for many years until after some wonderful care in “Woodboro” Nursing home in Clacton-On-Sea for which his family was greatly appreciative, he finally passed away in a most peaceful manner a week after his 80th birthday.
After a largely attended Catholic funeral mass in the tiny village of Wheeley, near Clacton, Bosco was cremated and after due process.
His ashes were returned to his family in Kilkenny city.
At his funeral Mass in St. John’s church, in Kilkenny city, Fr. Eamon O’Gorman, who knew Bosco very well, spoke very eloquently about his recollections of him.
He read a letter from the altar from his long-time friend, Kevin Byrne.
Later, at the conclusion of the ashes ceremony in St. Kierans, another friend, PJ Norton, a local balladeer, gave a rousing version of the “Rose of Mooncoin”, to commemorate Bosco’s hurling involvement with Kilkenny. Ceremonies were concluded in O’Loughlin Gael’s Hurling and Football Club where family, friends and the team-mates all revisited their own personal memories of the popular and genial Bosco Buckley.
Goodbye old pal, you were a special hurler and a special friend. Yours will be a long and lasting memory. (NOS)