BRYANSFORD didn’t win the Down Championship in Ballymartin on Monday night, but you could have been forgiven for thinking that they did following the manic scenes that followed Phillip Bonny’s late goal.
There are special championship goals and then there is this goal – one that will be remembered around St Patrick’s Park for many years to come given the circumstances.
Lining out for with his teammates was the last thing on Bonny’s mind when he was diagnosed with cancer last October.
However, following months of successful chemotheraphy, he felt that he was in a position to take his spot on the bench against Rostrevor.
Things weren’t going to plan though and manager Francie McKibben put his faith in Bonny with 15 minutes remaining. He was richly rewarded as the player grabbed the goal that salvaged their season and they were never going to lose from there.
“My daughter was only three months old when I was diagnosed,” said Bonny. “It was a bad time.
“I went through six months of it and I’m three months in remission.
“To get on the field there, that was a good moment. I didn’t think I would ever play again but my daughter, my girlfriend, my family, they got me through it.
“It was an atrocious time and I probably wouldn’t have been back, but here we are.”
Bonny had been training for one night a week recently but still didn’t feel strong enough for a game.
He didn’t put his hand up for their previous round defeat to Kilcoo as a result, but knowing that this could be the night that the side exited the competition, he decided to be brave.
“I had dreamed what it would be like the night before,” he continued.
“No disrespect to Rostrevor, but I was hoping that we’d be four or five points up, I’d come on and get a wee round of applause or something for my cameo.
“That wasn’t the way it was working out and as it was hard watched from the sideline.
“We were five points down when I came on and I remember thinking ‘this isn’t what I expected’.
“A few high balls had come in and I was battling to get them and it was going grand.
“I put Timmy (Hanna) in on goal and the ’keeper saved it and I thought that was it.
“Then Timmy went up and I was standing under him. There were a few Rostrevor boys around us and they were static and I took the shot. Thankfully it hit the underside of the bar and bounced over the line.”
The reaction, as you’d expect, was crazy.
“I looked over at the bench and they were going mental and so was the crowd.
“After the game, every single man came up to me to wish me well, some had near tears in their eyes and that near set me off.
“I went to see my parents and they were crying too and that made me emotional as well.
“It really worked out so well and it was just a special moment and one I’ll always remember.”
Bonny was also keen to stress how much the Bryansford club has helped him through his struggles, whilst also praising the kindness of strangers.
“Obviously I wasn’t working when I was diagnosed and they held a fundraiser to help.
“When I got the news about the cancer my phone was going mental for a few weeks.
“I was getting messages of support from people I knew and a lot of others I didn’t as well.
“Everyone was behind me and that was such an amazing help.”
Euphoria has been replaced by exhaustion as Bonny tries to deal with the fall-out but new challenges, namely Castlewellan in the next round on Monday, await.
”Frank (McKibben) was on the phone there jokingly asking was I fit for a full game but I’m not at the minute.
“I know if I go in on Monday thinking I’m the man we’ll get destroyed.
“It’s just been an incredible few days though and just brilliant to be back out with the boys.”