In a Football League career just shy of 500 games and a hundred goals, Roy McDonough scored just once in twenty games for Exeter City in the mid-1980s. Joining the Grecians from his first spell with Southend, most of his successes came in Essex when he returned to Southend and in two separate periods with Colchester United where he was player-manager when the club returned to the Football League in 1992.
Roy began his career at Birmingham City, signing a full contract in October 1976 and going on to make 2 league appearances. He then signed for Walsall in September 1978 where he scored 15 goals in 84 league outings. Transferred to Chelsea in October 1980, he was on the move again four months later without having played a first team match, when he joined Colchester United. He was a big success at Layer Road scoring 24 goals in 93 league starts. In August 1983, Roy made the move to rivals, Southend United, where he added a further 22 league appearances and four goals.
In January 1984 Exeter City player-manager, Gerry Francis, brought him to St James’ Park for a fee of £5,000. His first game for the Grecians was in a 2-1 home defeat against Bristol Rovers. Playing in a side that finished rock bottom of the Third Division, Roy ended the season without a goal in 16 league appearances. He was to feature in the opening four games the following season, but was then transferred to Cambridge United in October 1984.
He stayed at Cambridge for just the one season scoring five times in 35 league outings before, in August 1985, rejoining Southend United for a second time and enjoyed the best spell of his career as he played in 186 league games and scored 30 goals. His final league club as a player was Colchester United, going back there for a second time in October 1990, adding 63 league appearances and 16 goals. Roy became player-manager at Colchester in the 1991–1992 season, and guided the club to a Football Conference and FA Trophy 'double' , promoting them back into the full Football League. He left there in May 1994 and then played for Dagenham and Redbridge, Canvey Island and Braintree Town. He then became manager of Chelmsford City in May 1986 before, after a lengthy break from football, taking charge of Heybridge Swifts.
He was sent off thirteen times during his Football League career and, later working in car and property sales, wrote a book called "Red Card Roy".