Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Donegal's time has come, says Bonner

Donegal minor team manager Declan Bonner is on the warpath in advance of his team's All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin at Croke Park on Sunday.

Bonner, a 1992 senior All-Ireland winner with his native county, has overseen what has been a rewarding year at minor level, the Ulster League and provincial championship trophies having already been captured.

But Bonner's appetite for success remains far from sated as he contemplates a confrontation with a Dublin side that has already been shunted into the favourites' role to land the big prize.

And he makes it abundantly clear that the time for "excuses" for Donegal's repeated failures at minor level is long gone.

"Hopefully we have set the template for what we feel is the way to go. For too long Donegal at minor level were unable to produce the results that they should have been capable of," insists Bonner.

"There are definitely always good players coming through. I think in the past we looked at counties like Tyrone and Derry and we thought that colleges football in those counties and in the north in general was very strong and that's why Donegal struggled.

"To me, that's only making excuses. We are striving to get the proper structures in place because Donegal should be competing strongly at minor level every year.

"They may not always win the Ulster title but they should be capable of challenging for honours."

Bonner's assessment of Donegal's record at minor level has undoubtedly spurred his team to better things but the straight-talking boss will now settle for nothing less than an All-Ireland title.

"A lot of hard work has gone into this group of Donegal players over the past couple of years and they are really looking forward to Sunday's challenge," said Bonner.

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