FORMER CORK CITY striker Roy O’Donovan made a dream start for the Newcastle Jets on Saturday, as he scored an incredible first-half hat-trick against former club Central Coast Mariners.
The 32-year-old opened his account with a penalty after nine minutes before adding two more in the 28th and 38th minutes — the third a stunning header which looped into the top corner.
O’Donovan won the Premier Division title with City in 2005, recording 34 goals in 79 appearances, before departing for Sunderland in 2007 where he spent three years.
Saturday’s 29 minute hat-trick was the third fastest from kick-off in A-League history.
The player anticipated some ill-feeling upon facing his old club, telling the Daily Telegraph that he was looking forward to the challenge.
“I mean, I don’t think they’ll be rolling out the red carpet for me, put it that way,” he said on his return to the Mariners.
“It’ll be very strange but I’m excited by it. It was the game I wanted first after the furore of me leaving to go to the nearest rivals. Means I can nip it in the bud, get in there and hopefully come away smiling.
“I’m sure they’ll try to wind me up, a few niggly tackles. But it’s a derby so that should be there anyway. There’s a bit of spice there, an intriguing contest.”
The forward caused controversy among supporters when he made the switch ahead of the 2017/18 season, having scored 19 goals in 45 games for the Mariners before moving to the Jets.
O’Donovan is well traveled following his departure from Sunderland in 2010, featuring for all of Dundee, Blackpool, Southend and Hartlepool on loan, whilst also playing in both Indonesia and Brunei before moving to Australia in 2015.
The Jets added two more after the break as they strode to a 5-1 win on Saturday — a first win of the season which sees them top of the table, with O’Donovan the A-League’s top goalscorer.
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