SHANE Lowry will make a rare appearance in front of a home audience when he plays in a big December golf classic as the tightly knit community in Clara rallies behind a local GAA activist who is facing into the biggest battle of his life after being diagnosed recently with cancer.
Townspeople and his friends throughout the county were dismayed when news emerged in recent weeks of John Buckley's diagnosis and the golf classic is being organised to help fund his battle against illness but more importantly to show solidarity with him at this testing time.
Just 41 years of age, John Buckley is very well known in GAA circles. He won Senior Football Championship medals with Clara in 2003, when he was sub goalie and in 2009, when he was between the posts – a very good goalkeeper, he made an absolutely crucial contribution to that win as he denied Roy Malone a winning goal with a hairy late tackle that he got away with.
He was the captain and goalkeeper as Clara won the Junior Football Championship in 1999, when they went on to win the Leinster title, and 2007 and since retiring he has given great service in managing teams in his club – he was their U-15 manager this year but was unfortunately unable to attend their quarter-final defeat by St Broughan's.
He had been rehearsing for a Clara Ladies Football Club Eurovision fundraiser a few weeks ago when his life changed after he went for tests and his popularity has been reflected by the stream of visitors to him in hospital in Dublin.
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