He remained part of the Munster coaching set-up for five seasons, his final season combined with being Ireland 'A' Assistant Coach and he was then appointed Forwards Coach to the Ireland senior squad, a role he fulfilled for seven seasons, a period in which Ireland won 3 Triple Crowns.
He subsequently returned to the Munster scene in the role of Munster A Team Manager (2010/11) and this term as Manager/Forwards Coach to see them through to victory in the British & Irish Cup.
Coach of the Shannon side that won three successive AIL League titles and Director of Rugby there in season 1997/98 when they won their fourth, O'Donovan or 'Niallo' as he is popularly known, brings a wealth of experience and a familiarity that seems to make him the perfect fit for the job.
O'Donovan, who acted as Munster Forwards coach while Anthony Foley's was involved with the national squad earlier in the season said, "I'm delighted to be back involved with the senior side on a full time basis. I think it's a very exciting time for Munster Rugby given the experience there's in the side and the quality of player we have coming through. I've worked with a lot of those young players these past few seasons and I'm aware of their potential and what they can bring to the side. Coupled with that we have, I believe a very strong coaching ticket, and I'm really looking forward to working with all involved."