Bonner honoured in Donegal

It was a moment no one in Ireland will ever forget. With the quarter finals of the 1990 World Cup within touching distance, legendary goalkeeper Packie Bonner faced off against Romanian striker Daniel Timofte.

The save by Bonner won the penalty shoot-out, and sent Ireland into the World Cup quarter finals.

For that, and the many other achievements during his football career, Packie Bonner was honoured with the Freedom of the County in Donegal, the area’s highest accolade.

He became only the second person to receive the honour, after fellow goalkeeper Shay Given was awarded it last year.

An emotional Packie Bonner paid tribute to his family, friends, coaches and fellow players who influenced him.

He said: “Without them I would not be where I am today. As you go through this, you need special people and I had it in my family. They are the people that helped me get where I am.”

Mayor of Donegal Enda Bonner thanked his cousin Packie for the great memories he had given every Irishman.

He said: “This award will adequately reflect the great esteem in which Packie is held by the people of the counties for the wonderful memories he has given us and the work he continues to do.”

Packie Bonner came from very humble beginnings. Aged 10, he and his twin brother Denis were able to get their pair of football boots after a good herring season in Donegal.

He became Jock Stein’s last signing for Celtic, when he moved to Glasgow in 1978.

His Ireland debut came in May 1981, on his 21st birthday. He went on to play 642 times for Celtic, and won 80 caps for Ireland.

But it was that famous save and Ireland’s run during the 1990 World Cup that turned Bonner into a national hero.

He said: “Everybody, young and old enjoyed it. I was privileged to be part of such a great team.”

He can also now enjoy the privilege of walking his cattle through Dungloe.

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