Northern Ireland news

Co Down GAA player who has battled cancer makes fairytale return to action

Philip Bonny, pictured right playing for Bryansford in recent years, made a fairytale return to the football field against Rostrevor on Monday night
Neil Loughran

A Co Down GAA player who has battled a rare form of cancer in the last year has made a fairytale return to action by scoring a dramatic late goal in a crunch club championship game.

Philip Bonny (27), who has been on the fringes of the Down football team in the past, was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma last October before being given the all-clear in May.

And on Monday night he came off the bench with 15 minutes left of Bryansford's Down senior championship clash against Rostrevor in Ballymartin, with Bryansford trailing by six points and seemingly headed for the exit door.

After narrowing the gap to three, Bonny bagged a goal with two minutes left to level matters.

Bryansford took control heading into added time, scoring the final two points to win 1-15 to 1-13 and set up a showdown with rivals Castlewellan on Monday night.

“I always dreamt I would come back,” said Bonny, who has a one-year-old daughter called Sofia.

“When the final whistle went I was relieved but knackered. I was trying so hard I could barely breathe so when I was walking off everybody started mobbing me, every player, everybody on the bench and it ended up like a 25-man huddle in the middle of the field.

“Some of the Rostrevor boys came over, shook my hand and said it was good to see me back, so that was a lovely touch. Fair play to them.”

:: See full story in tomorrow's Irish News.

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