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Slipped Through the Net: Kevin Donovan

By: Richard Lord
Date: 30/03/2003

IN an exclusive interview as part of The Fishy's new "Slipped Through the Net" series, Richard Lord caught up with Kevin Donovan to talk about his time at Blundell Park.

Introduction
At a cost of £300,000 Kevin Donovan did more than repay Alan Buckley's faith in him. Within the town of Grimsby he will always be remembered for the winning goal at Wembley that sent the Mariners back up to the First Division in 1998.

Donovan is a born winger and he slotted perfectly into Buckley's team. His first season with Grimsby went beyond everyone's expectations. He bagged a total of 21 goals and hardly missed a game, despite the Mariners' busy fixture schedule.

His debut goal was scored in front of very few Town fans down at Plymouth in a 2-2 draw. It came from the penalty spot and from then on he was Town's assigned penalty-taker. Not only that, he also scored some classy goals along the way - not forgetting the most important goal of his career against Northampton in the Play-Off Final.

After such an impressive season his one to follow did not meet expectations. A back injury incurred during the summer kept him out of the squad for months. Rather ironically, he didn't register a goal that season while the Mariners finished eleventh in the First Division. His following season was more successful but Town never got going and struggled to stay clear of the bottom six. Players from the famous 97/98 promotion season were beginning to leave and the goals had dried up completely.

His last season with Grimsby was under the management of Lennie Lawrence and he was employed as the creative midfielder playing behind the front two strikers. Contract negotiations never materialised and by March 2001 it was clear that Donovan wouldn't be playing for the Mariners the following season.

He departed for Barnsley in the summer but a change of manager only four months into his time at Oakwell upset the applecart. He then suffered a serious injury, which meant he could not play a part in Barnsley's battle against the drop. The Tykes were relegated at the end of the season and Donovan has only recently returned to first team action, where he and his team mates face a battle against the drop into Division Three.

Next: Kevin Donovan Interview

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