He spoke about being called a disgrace to the game by his wife for his performance in the Tyrone game last summer. He explained why the defensive style of football just never took properly with the instincts of Cork football.
In Cork’s summer of becoming good again, O’Donovan has been a breakthrough, a blur of constant forward movement and positive energy that’s defined how Cork have stepped up here.
Against Laois he again fronted up, stopping his man running at one stage so he had to turn and pass backwards, again winning turnover ball with his body strength and later attacking a kick-out in the air to stop a clean possession, a play that led directly to a Cork point. There’s been the relentless driving forward with ball and without ball.
If this Cork football summer so far conjures images of Ruairí Deane tearing past a tackler or Brian Hurley banging a goal, then O’Donovan’s runs forward have been just as much a part of things — the brave honesty to support every run like it was his last and the attitude of attacking every opponent and game in the same way.