DECLAN Bonner will make a familiar pit stop on his way back from Donegal’s Ulster Championship semi-final this evening.
His 94-year-old mother, Bridie, and his aunt Annie, who is in her late 80s, will be among Donegal’s biggest fans cheering on from their home in Doochary.
Picture: Donegal Bonner and (insert) his mother Bridie and aunt Annie.
The GAA’s return from the Covid-19 lockdown has drawn criticism from some quarters, but Bonner hasn’t had to look away from home to see the benefits.
“People like my mother and my aunt have heard nothing but bloody doom and gloom for eight months,” Bonner said.
“I see it since football came back, they are in a better place. Their news isn’t all about numbers, deaths and cases.
“The mental wellbeing of people of all ages can be affected. People forget that sometimes. From my position, I’ve seen the smile that winning a football match can put on faces.”
After Donegal’s recent win over Tyrone, Bonner called in to get the verdict.
He said: “I call in most days, coming from work or going to or from training.
“They’re mad about football. They watch all the games or listen in on the radio. They can sometimes tell me more about the games than I might remember myself.”
They help keep Declan, an All-Ireland winner in 1992, ‘grounded’ and any criticism is reserved for opponents or officials.
Since returning to manage Donegal for a second time, Bonner has won back-to-back Ulster titles.
He said: “Football has always been important, but it has new importance now.
“Until a few weeks ago, there was nothing, but now again it feels like their week is revolving around football again. They be talking away about who’s injured and who isn’t, just keeping up to date.
“When there’s a match on, they’re geared for it from morning.
“Right around the country, there are people like that. Anyone involved with a team at the moment is in a very privileged position and we can’t lose sight of that.
“I know people in my own club area who haven’t missed a Donegal game for 40 years or more and now they can’t go. to keep people talking and in many ways keep them sane.
“We are aware of the importance of football to so many people.”Tags: