Saturday 23 March 2019

Donegal must learn from mixed season, insists Bonner

Donegal manager Declan Bonner. Photo: Sportsfile
Donegal manager Declan Bonner. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

It was a season of ups and downs for Declan Bonner in his first year back in charge of Donegal.

There was the agonising relegation on the last day of the league that was followed by the high of an Ulster title.

A few weeks down the line, Donegal had put themselves in a position to reach an All-Ireland semi-final only to be steamrolled down the home straight by Tyrone, while in the midst of all that came a season-ending injury for star man Paddy McBrearty.

Overall, though, Bonner was happy with his first season in charge.

"It was great to win (Ulster). They are not easy won. 2014 was the last one we won, so a four-year break.

"The 'Super 8s', we started against Dublin. It was again part of the learning curve to be quite honest. Roscommon, then the last game against Tyrone would have been a disappointment in terms of we were three or four points up going into the last quarter and we didn't finish it out.

Scratched

"So from that point of view, the season probably ended disappointingly in Ballybofey but overall we'd have to be happy that progress was made."

The Ulster title scratched a personal itch for Bonner. In his first stint in charge of the county, he came desperately close to securing provincial honours in 1998 before a late Joe Brolly goal swung the game in Derry's favour.

Read more: Galway ace Comer admits 'we didn't perform against Dubs'

"Twenty years is a long, long, long time and it was great to come back. One of the goals we did set out at the start of the season was that Ulster Championship and to get to the 'Super 8s' and we achieved that.

"From a starting point of view, it's a good base but we have got to build from that and move on. We have got to learn from those experiences."

Irish Independent

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