Packie Bonner was born in 1960 in Burtonport. An outstanding goalkeeper and a truly international sports personality, Packie Bonner will forever be remembered for his penalty save in the 1990 world cup. He started his soccer career playing with Keadue Rovers in 1975 going on in 1978 to play with Glasgow Celtic for the next twenty years and making over 600 appearances with the Scottish club.
He started playing with the Republic of Ireland team in 1981 appearing 80 times with the national team. Bonner was a pivotal presence in the team when Ireland qualified for the first time, for the world cup. Making it through to the quarter final with Italy, Bonner consolidated his expertise saving a powerful first shot but unfortunately for Ireland, Schillachi snatched a winning goal sending Ireland and Packie Bonner home. Bonner justifiably received a hero’s welcome on his return to both Donegal and Ireland. He held the record until 2007 for the most capped goalkeeper, with 80 appearances to his credit. Fellow Donegal man Shay Given, surpassed this record and is credited with 120 caps by the end of 2011.
In 2003 he was appointed Technical Director of the Football Association of Ireland and also appeared as a sports pundit on TV3.
Speaking as Ambassador for DCDB’s Ezine in 2009 Bonner said:
“No matter whom I meet and in what ever part of the world, Donegal inevitably ends up as part of the conversation. I am extremely proud to be a Donegal persona and there is no doubt that all of the Donegal people who are recognised for their talent, through Sports or the Arts, whom I am lucky to meet regularly, have the same feeling”
Bonner makes regular trips home promoting his county and all it has to over. In 2010 he took part in RTE’s Tracks and Trails, hiking across the Bluestck Mountains. He has appeared on RTE’s radio show in 2011, The Business, reminiscing on his childhood spent in the Donegal fishing village. He has also thrown his weight behind Donegal’s Gathering initiative for 2013, saying – “the older I get and the longer I live abroad the more I long to be back there.”