"He played in goals for us last year as well, he was only a youngster back then" 1 year ago

"He played in goals for us last year as well, he was only a youngster back then"

Declan Bonner won a Donegal junior championship with Na Rossa back in 1982.

That was the club's first ever county title, and the precocious teenager was one of their key players. A whippersnapper 17-year-old back then, Bonner had it all ahead of him. Some 37 years on and plenty of water has gone under the bridge, but some things wouldn't change for the world.

Bonner is still doing his bit for the club, he's still crossing the white line for the good of Na Rossa. He may be 54, yes 54 now but he's not afraid to put himself out there and when his club were in need there was no way a number was going to hold him back.

On Sunday, almost 40 years on from his debut, the Donegal manager lined out in goals for Na Rossa in their championship win over Carndonagh. Having come from behind, Na Rossa rallied back to qualify for the quarter finals of the competition.

"An emergency situation," says club secretary Pat Boyle when asked how it came about that Bonner was plunged back in the deep end.

Declan Bonner (second from top right) played for Donegal in the '92 All-Ireland final

"But Declan never lets the club down, and he got on well out there. He only conceded one goal and he still has a good kickout. You'd know he used to hit frees for Donegal..."


The emergency situation was the lack of a goalkeeper. The first choice net-minder is in America until Christmas and Bonner will be holding the fort until then.

Not a bother to him.

"I would say he does a good bit of the training with the county team as well. He keeps himself in great nick all the time. He played a bit for us in goals last year as well," "He was only a youngster back then at 53," joked Boyle.

Since his Na Rossa debut in the 70s, Bonner has played with Donegal at all levels and he's managed them on two different occasions as well. But he's never forgotten about his club, where it all started.

"He's our chairman now as well. It's great to have him because we're in the process of getting a new pitch and Declan is great with the organisation side of stuff. He's a brilliant club man."

There's no doubt about that.