GAA

Declan Bonner Gets Boots On With Club Down To 'Bare Bones'

Declan Bonner Gets Boots On With Club Down To 'Bare Bones'

A sheer lack of numbers meant that Declan Bonner was forced to pull on his boots once against for his club Na Rossa over the weekend.

The 54-year-old Donegal manager stood between the posts as his side beat Carndonagh 1-9 to 1-8, progressing to the quarter-finals of the Donegal Junior Football Championship.

"It was a matter of trying to get 15 players on the field," Bonner told the RTÉ GAA podcast.

We ended up with 16 players togged out at the weekend. The weekend before we were down to 15. The goal that who was playing flew out to New York. We were down to the bare bones and that's why I had to get the boots back on again.

It's a really small club. Five years ago, we had two adult teams in the club. We're struggling now to get one team out. At underage, we've amalgamated with our neighbours Dungloe. Numbers are very small and it's just a matter of trying to keep the club going. It's not getting any easier.

I had no intention over the past number of years of going back playing but circumstances have told me otherwise.

Along with being the emergency goalkeeper, Bonner is also the club chairman. He made his senior debut aged 14 and is now into his 40th year playing with the club.

"We went from Division 4 to Division 1 back in the early 80s," said Bonner.

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"We played senior football for a number of seasons and won intermediate championships in '89 and '99. Over the last ten years, it's been really hard trying to keep hold of numbers.

"We'd have a team or two teams abroad between [people in] Australia, Canada, UK and America."

Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

See Also: 44-Year-Old Kicks Point As Derrygonnelly Win Fifth Consecutive Fermanagh Title

PJ Browne
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