Horan claimed Donegal will try anything to gain an advantage and also said Mayo are a stronger group than they were prior to last year’s All-Ireland final but queried whether Donegal have bettered themselves since the decider.
On the subject of his relationship with McGuinness, the Ballintubber man said: “Maybe show me a team that has good body language towards Mr McGuinness on the sideline!”
Bonner, the newly-appointed Donegal minor manager, was disappointed with Horan’s remarks and feels his words have stirred a hornet’s nest.
“It probably stems back to last season when James Horan was of the opinion that Mayo didn’t get the credit they deserved,” he said. “At the end of the day, you do your talking on the park.
“He’s brewed up another storm now and there’s no love lost between him and Jim McGuinness. But it’s foolish on James Horan’s part.
“Going into the Ulster final, Donegal were missing that bit of hunger but after what Horan said I’d say their gander will definitely be up for Sunday.
“I feel Horan wouldn’t have wanted Donegal at this stage. To me, it would have been better off if he left the talking to the players on Sunday and leaving it to them to get the result.
“But it all seems to be going public. He seems to have a vendetta with Jim McGuinness and it’s interesting but I don’t know where it comes from.”
Bonner knows Horan was trying to play mind games just as McGuinness was at the weekend, talking about injuries and third man tackles.
“When Jim came out and highlighted Donegal players were getting targeted I think it was mostly tongue-in-cheek and gamesmanship and a case of putting things in place.
“This is Championship football and it’s a more physical game now. Inter-county footballers are looking more like rugby players and bigger hits are going in. That’s where Jim was coming from.”
The teams’ runs to this stage couldn’t be more different but he doesn’t necessarily agree that Mayo should be favourites. “Mayo have been doing their job ruthlessly this summer. They’ve beaten Galway, Roscommon and London by huge margins, chalking up high scores. They have Andy Moran back and Cillian O’Connor is fit again but they haven’t been tested. Donegal have had four tight matches and haven’t been playing well but you can’t ignore Donegal.”
With the heat already turned up ahead of the game, Bonner knows it won’t be a game for the faint-hearted and states referee Joe McQuillan will have a big role to play.
“He’s an experienced official and it’s important he has a good team with him, that the linesmen and umpires are on stand-by to see what’s going on.”
Meanwhile, Mayo could spring a surprise by playing Keith Higgins in their attack having played there in recent challenge games.