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World Cup legend would win over the voters in field of politics

IT is a moment indelibly etched on the national psyche -- and it made Packie Bonner a hero.

It was Monday, June 25, 1990 and Romania's Daniel Timofte stood up to take a penalty in the shoot-out against Ireland in the round of 16 at Italia 90.

With the shoot-out tied at 4-4, Bonner dived to his right and saved the shot, setting up the decisive spot kick for David O'Leary -- who scored and triggered national hysteria.

Fianna Fail clearly hopes some of Bonner's popularity will rub off on them.

The party approached him about running in the European elections last year, but he turned the offer down -- even though he admits that he gave "the idea a lot of thought".

Senior party figures are talking about him again, but Bonner says he has not been approached and will not run in the Donegal South West by-election.

He would have to be tempted away from his current job as technical director with the FAI, where he earns an estimated €150,000 a year.


Bonner also earns money from sponsorship and is the current the face of DID Electrical. Previously, he hosted TV3's sports coverage.

He has Fianna Fail links in his family and his second cousin, Enda Bonner, was a Donegal councillor, senator and failed general-election candidate for the party.

The former Celtic star has homes in Dublin and Glasgow, as well as a holiday home in his native Donegal.

The 50-year-old hails from Burtonport in the county and won 80 caps for Ireland, with appearances at Euro 88, Italia 90 and USA 94 the highlights of his international career.

He also made 642 appearances for Celtic before retiring in 1996. A national hero, he would be popular in any constituency.

Irish Independent