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The Irish striker has enjoyed a fine goalscoring start to life at DPMM

O'Donovan hungry for more success

The Irish striker has enjoyed a fine goalscoring start to life at DPMM


The DPMM striker has been in hot form, racing up the top scorers chart in the S.League since breaking his duck recently as his side sit pretty at the top of the table

Fantastic. Three months into life at Brunei DPMM, that is how Roy O’Donovan feels about his new club.

The Irishman held that opinion when he first arrived and it has not wavered since, as he revealed to Goal Singapore in an interview.

“Everything at this club is set up for success,” he declared.

“Before coming, I wasn't sure what was going to greet me football-wise, but I have been very impressed thus far with our team and the young players breaking through."

O'Donovan's words are backed up by how DPMM has performed so far this season, as they lead the table after the first round of games by seven points, ahead of Warriors FC and defending champions Tampines Rovers.

The striker has played his part with 10 goals - a third of DPMM's goal tally - and is second only to team-mate Rodrigo Tosi's 11. Having mentioned that he would also like to play a part in creating goals in a pre-season interview, O'Donovan has done just that by chipping with five assists as well.

Having been plagued by injury troubles before he came over, he is pleased with his own form so far as well.

“Since I've come here, it's been just the tonic and I feel fit, strong and most importantly happy, which is the most important thing,” he explained. “Enjoying your football leads to the greatest results!”

Ominiously, O'Donovan believes there is more to come from DPMM, as they gun for their first S.League title after a disappointing eighth-place finish last year.

“We are backed by a very ambitious owner in the Crown Prince, who has pulled off a masterstroke in attracting a very well respected coach in Steve Kean, whose training methods have brought the players on to another level," he asserted.

“We are a brand new team that is still gelling together and it takes more games to do this and to take all the manager's tactics and ideas on board, which is why I think we will go from strength to strength from now on; in my opinion, we still haven't hit our rhythm."

Best known for a high-profile spell in charge of Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League, Kean made headlines when he succeeded Vjeran Simunic at the Bruneian outfit.

According to O’Donovan, the Scot has been integral in moulding the Wasps into a slicker, more-improved outfit, with his work giving the local players “a new lease of life” in particular.

“Player-wise, I have been hugely impressed by the technical abilities of our local players,” he said. “As a coach, he (Kean) is a very astute tactician but as well as that he is a very good guy and is always fair and honest with his players, and really that's all you can ask for.”

The 46-year-old also played an important role in convincing O’Donovan to make the move to this part of Asia, having made a “great first impression” and assured the latter that he would be a permanent part of his plans.

The wheels of his DPMM transfer were first set in motion late last year, when the then-Northampton Town striker got a call from former team-mate George O’Callaghan, who was the club briefly in 2011.

At that time, O’Donovan was doing his rehabilitation after undergoing an operation when manager Aidy Boothroyd was sacked in December due to a run of poor results. Feeling “let down” by that, he decided take the DPMM offer more seriously and obtained permission to travel to Brunei to take a look.

“I trained for a couple of days and liked what was happening at the club,” he recalled. “The new coach, the whole set up and the general feel-good factor at the club - all of these things played a factor in my decision to journey to the other side of the world at 28 years old and try something new.

“There is a great atmosphere at the club right now and the team spirit here is good; that tends to happen a lot quicker when you’re winning games, which is the case right now.”

O'Donovan also praised the S.League’s competitive standards, whilst revealing that he has been “inundated” by requests from ex-team mates, who have played at the highest level, wanting to find out how to play here.

One such player is already with him at the club in the form of former Ireland international Joseph Gamble, whom he is close to. It is the third time the due has played together in their careers, having known each other for over 10 years.

The sunnier climes is an aspect of Southeast Asia that O'Donovan savours, having spent most of his life in the United Kingdom playing in Scotland and England, as well as a less-packed competitive football calendar here.

“Brunei is a beautiful country and my wife Ellen and I are really embracing the change in culture from Europe,” he said.

“The weather is the biggest plus coming over here from rainy Ireland; it's nice to wake up to sunshine every morning! The location of the country is ideal for us to do some sight-seeing, as Malaysia is not far and obviously a great place to visit is Singapore, which we have enjoyed a couple of times so far and still haven't seen all the attractions there is to offer.

“At the end of the season we intend to travel around Asia and Australia, which is something I wouldn't have had the opportunity to do with the footballing schedule in England.”

Given that many former professionals have chosen Asia as the destination to end their careers, Goal Singapore was keen to know whether the former Cork City foreward still harboured ambitions of returning to Europe to play again.

To this, O’Donovan admitted that he has not given his long-term ambitions too much thought, saying that he simply wished to focus on giving his all for DPMM.

“I'm a young man playing football in Asia for what I feel is a club that's going places and who knows what the future holds?” he reflected.

“But as I've said previously, I'm enjoying the football and the lifestyle here and I'm hungry for more success!”