MORE than one Cork man raised the roof in Dublin’s 3Arena recently.
Roy Keane broughtto Dublin with Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher. The popular YouTube channel discusses sporting issues and while the biggest cheer of the night was when legendary footballer Paul McGrath was introduced as a guest speaker, it was the two Cork men who won the hearts of many.
Keane was box office as usual but he invited a former team-mate on stage and it was none other than Cork legend 'Handsome' Bob O’Donovan. O'Donovan's charm and wit quickly won over huge crowd, in a week the former Premier League stars also visited St Colman's Park.
“It was an amazing few days, to say the least,” said O’Donovan.
“From having the lads visit our club on Wednesday to appearing on stage with them on Thursday was a fantastic experience.
"Obviously, it was done behind closed doors but the lads spent time looking at pictures, signing footballs and kit for the club and we are really excited to see it appear later on in the show. There will be many surprises for people to see in what was truly an exceptional few hours with the lads.”
When we met at Lulu's Cafe in the Lough, O'Donovan spoke about the impact Keane and co had on the people of Cobh.
“The exposure we’re getting since the lads were at the club is brilliant. It coincides with our new committee set up which has been great. Roy spoke fondly of his memories with great Cobh players such as the likes of Packie Kelly, Mick O’Keeffe, Fergus McDaid, Alex Ludzic, George Wilhaw, Eddie O’Halloran and myself, all die-hard Cobh players.
“Back then with Roy as a 17-year-old, he showed his maturity and his commitment even back then and what stood out to me at the time was his confidence to demand the ball from players even 10 years his senior. And if he didn’t get the ball he was quick to let lads know he wasn’t happy. He wouldn’t ask players to do anything he wouldn’t do himself though. These are attributes he had his entire laugh.”
O’Donovan could not have predicted what would happen less than 24 hours later.
“I attendedshow with my buddies Anthony Kenneally, Ray Kelly and Pat Keane. We were enjoying the show and to my amazement, I was invited onto the stage. It was a great craic. I suppose I had three comments that had a great reaction from the crowd," laughs O’Donovan.
"The host Kelly Cates stated that I was the goal scorer when I played alongside Keane.
O’Donovan also referred to Keane as God and was quick to tell Neville that he didn’t play with Valencia, in answer to Neville not being able to understand him.
So while it was a great occasion for him to share the stage with three legends, the attention didn’t stop there. As he left the arena, our beloved Leesider was mobbed by fans.
“It was surreal to be honest," laughs O’Donovan. "People were asking me for a picture with them and referring to me as Handsome Bob. It was great craic."