IN THE ZONE: Newcastle Jets striker Roy O’Donovan at the final hit out before the A-League grand final against Melbourne Victory on Saturday. Picture” Max Mason-HubersJETS’ hired gun Roy O’Donovan was a teenage rookie when the strikerhelped steer his home town club Cork City to a league title on the final day of the season.
It was a day he will never forget.
“We don’t have the same grand-final thing over there, but it happened to be the first and second placed team played each other in the last game of the season,” he said. “It was at our home ground and if they won, they won the league. If we won, we won the league.”
Cork City beat Derry City, sparking wild scenes.
“Cork is not the capital. It is a big industrial city, it is working class but they love their sport and they love a winning team,” O’Donovan said.
O’Donovan has since played at Wembley, where hisNorthampton Town were defeated by Bradford City in England’s 2013 League Two play-off final and has won the Singapore League Cup with Brunei DPMM.
But he said a win over Victory in the A-League grand final would rank along side the Cork triumph.
“This is up there, this is huge,” he said. “The beauty of football is that I have got to play in lots of different places. Australia is special for me. It feels like home, maybe because of that connection with Cork and a sporting city.”
I’m looking forward to Saturday and hopefully doing something special.”
After migrating north from the Central Coast, O’Donovan made an instant impact at the Jets, netting seven goals in five games until injury, suspension and inconsistency hampered the 32-year-old’s campaign.
“Of course it has been frustrating,” he said. “I was flying the first six weeks and my aspiration and goals were a lot higher but you cut them back with the injury.That 10-12 week period out was hard but it would have been a lot worse if I’d been sitting up in the stands and we were losing every week.”
Three weeks ago he turned a corner, bagging a double in a 8-2 rout of his old club.
“Melbourne Victory have a fantastic team so they’re going to pose a different challenge to what Melbourne City did,” he said.
“But it’s something we’re all relishing. You want to play against the best the A-League has to offer and Victory are definitely up there.”