Football: ROY RACE IS HEATING UP; Eircom Premier Division: UCD 0 Cork City 1 Burnley Boss in Town to Check on O'Donovan

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry DOYLE

IF Steve Cotterill's reason for travelling to Belfield last night was to check out Roy O'Donovan then the Burnley boss will feel he got value for money.

As O'Donovan scored his third goal in two games to once again prove exactly why he is the hottest property in the eircom League just now, Cotterill, surely must be considering a return journey.

His next trip, though, is likely to be a good deal more expensive - E450,000 more expensive to be precise - if he hopes to bring O'Donovan back with him.

For on current form, O'Donovan is worth all that and more. And from Cork City's perspective, he is priceless.

Without him, this entertaining and creative side would lack punch, sparkle and edge. With him, they look good enough to finish in the top three.

Considering too that Gareth Farrelly and Colin Healy, their new Irish international signings, have yet to recieve clearance from FIFA, Cork clearly need O'Donovan to be fit, healthy and safe from predatory British clubs.

The Leesiders, though, remain perplexed and more than a little annoyed that FIFA have freed up three eircom League players - Alan Cawley (Bray), Gary Rogers (Galway) and Sean Holmes (Finn Harps) to play for their clubs, while Cork wait on their two midfielders.

Yet all they can do is wait.

Waiting is made easier, though, by the fact that they have turned their season around with two wins in a week.

Last night's victory was impressive but far from easy and when UCD reflect on this game, they will know they could have left with more than their pride enhanced.

They had chances. Conor Sammon had the best of them after just three minutes when he got onto the end of Conon Byrne's right-wing cross to head into the side-netting. …