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From Oz to the hills - Crazy week as Donegal's new AFLW star returns to inspire club
A professional contract, an All-Star nominee and a 2-4 haul to help Glenfin into the Ulster semi-final. Not bad.

WHAT A WHIRLWIND few days Donegal star forward Yvonne Bonner has had.

yovonne Yvonne Bonner.

Last Thursday the 31-year-old signed a professional deal for Greater Western Sydney (GWS) Giants, meaning she’ll be a teammate of Cora Staunton’s in the AFLW next year.

Bonner had originally travelled to Melbourne with 10 other Irish athletes to the week-long CrossCoders trial camp. And she caught the eye of the Sydney outfit, penning a rookie contract for the 2019 season. 

While Down Under, she missed out on a few things at home.

The Tir Chonaill attacking ace was nominated for a second All-Star award, pitted against Dublin’s Niamh McEvoy and Cork’s Doireann O’Sullivan for the full-forward position.

In her absence, her club, Glenfin, made it back-to-back Donegal SFC titles after a thrilling 4-7 to 3-7 win over Moville.

And they were back out in provincial action a week later, this time with their now-professional athlete to boost their hopes while they were without another Donegal star, Karen Guthrie, their injured captain.

gf Glenfin GAA Facebook. Glenfin GAA Facebook.

Bonner inspired as per, finishing with a tally of 2-4 — 2-2 of that coming from play — as she put on a fine display and helped her side into the Ulster semi-final.

The scoreline against four in-a-row Cavan champions Lurgan was 5-12 to 0-11 and Glenfin now face Down’s Bredagh in the last four. 

While there was plenty to discuss after the victory, the main focus was on 31-year-old Bonner’s time in Australia and the deal she struck whilst there.

“It was just a roller coaster of a week out there,” she told Donegal Daily at Pairc Taobhoige, Glenfin as the full-time whistle sounded. ”I was delighted to even get picked to go over to the camp. It was a great experience.

“But yeah, it was surreal then when I was meeting the likes of (Giants’ coach) Al McConnell after seeing the (Cora Staunton) documentary, watching it and watching the Giants set-up. Little did I think I’d be sitting there the week after and signing a pro contract. It was just kind of surreal really. You just go with the flow, and I’m delighted now to give it a shot.

“The age of me as well, to be going out there! Little did I think at this age (this would happen). Where I should be finishing, I’m starting more stuff. We’ll give it a shot. It’s not a long season either so I get to come back and hopefully slip back into the Donegal team. If I keep playing that long, until March, I might as well push it out another wee bit.”

Yvonne McMonagle Tom Beary / INPHO In action for Donegal. Tom Beary / INPHO / INPHO

She noted that her new Aussie Rules club are fully supportive of her commitments back home with Glenfin, just as they were with Cora Staunton and Carnacon’s All-Ireland run last year. 

Once those commitments finish up, she’ll be Sydney-bound for pre-season. Something she’s well and truly relishing.

“It’ll be a big challenge,” she concluded. “I’m excited now to get stuck in and learn a new game.

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