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Packie Bonner to coach ‘underdogs’ Achill Rovers

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Packie Bonner to coach ‘underdogs’ Achill Rovers


Anton McNulty

Ireland and Celtic legend Packie Bonner will be putting the Achill Rovers squad through their paces next week when the Donegal man takes training as part of the John Murray Show Underdogs radio programme on RTÉ Radio One.
The Italia ‘90 penalty shoot-out hero has been appointed to the coaching staff of Achill Rovers for the Underdogs slot which aims to give struggling teams an extra boost in their respective sport.
The Mayo Premier B team were chosen to take part in the programme in May and last week Packie Bonner was announced as the expert coach to the delight of club chairman Seán Molloy.
“We are absolutely delighted to have a footballing legend of Packie’s calibre to travel to Achill to train the boys. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, everyone knows who Packie Bonner is and to have him here will be a big boost to the club. We all remember Packie’s heroics in Stuttgart in ‘88 and in Genoa in 1990 and we hope he will pass on some of his wealth of knowledge to the players,” he said.
Bonner made 80 appearances for the Republic of Ireland with his performances during Euro ‘88 and Italia ’90 making him a household name. The majority of his club career was with Celtic where he made 483 appearances between 1978 and 1998.
The first training session is due to take place on Thursday, June 12 in Achill Rovers’ home ground in the Valley with Seán explaining that players living outside the island are taking time off work to travel for the occasion.
“There is a great buzz amongst the players since the announcement was made. We were told it would be one of the Italia ‘90 squad and Packie was one of the players we were hoping for. Only five or six of our team live in Achill but many of the players are taking time off work to make the session and we expect 25 players to be there.
“Packie will be bringing another coach with him and I’m sure he’ll put the team through a few drills and talk on tactics. RTÉ will be down as well with him to talk to the players and Packie for the radio show. We’re all looking forward to it,” explained Seán.
The club are also hoping to host a questions and answers night with Packie following the training session but these plans are at an early stage and nothing has yet been confirmed.
The John Murray Show will be following the progress of Achill Rovers throughout the summer and Packie will be travelling to the island later in the year to see how they are progressing.