Scoil set the pace
Scoil Uí Chonaill 3-11Naomh Olaf 0-12
Three first half-goals put Scoil Uí Chonaill en route to a comfortable eight-point win over Naomh Olaf in their Dublin Adult Football League Division 3 encounter at Páirc Uí Bhriain last Saturday evening.
A tight affair was anticipated between two talented outfits but once the visitors got their noses in front early on, they never looked likely to relinquish their advantage as they controlled affairs for the large part.
Central to their victory was the control and mobility that they enjoyed at centrefield with Conor Coady and Daniel Nolan combining superbly to exert a profound influence on proceedings.
Their partnership allowed the lively away attack to highlight their potential and, in truth, their margin of victory could well have been greater but for some errant shooting, most notably in the first-half.
For the hosts, it was a disappointing evening but there were mitigating factors to explain their below-par display with the absence of David Byrne, Kevin Birrane and Darragh Byrne significant absentees on the night for the Balally outfit.
The visitors opened up brightly and they gained reward for their efforts as Eoin O'Carroll converted a long-distance free in the second minute to open their account.
Although Brian Begley restored parity for the hosts two minutes later, Scoil Uí Chonaill were finding space down the left flank of the Naomh Olaf defence and an excellent pass from Coady allowed Donncha Fenton to race free to restore his side's one-point advantage.
That lead was enhanced in the sixth minute as another sortie down the right wing culminated in Shane Corry breaking free to fire a precise finish under the advancing Brendan Redmond for the game's opening goal.
The hosts were struggling to gain primary possession in the early stages and their troubles continued as Coady deservedly got on the scoresheet with a well-taken point from 40 metres.
A Fearghal Purcell free in the ninth minute preceded a brief period of pressure for Naomh Olaf and Purcell will rue hitting the side-netting as Shane Whyte's quick-thinking released the centre-forward through on goal.
However, Purcell atoned for that miss when converting another free in the 11th minute but the visitors responded impressively as they pushed five points clear thanks to successive scores from Louis Costello and O'Carroll.
Gary Wilkins landed the hosts' first score from play as late as the 18th minute before Scoil put sizeable daylight between the teams as they plundered two goals inside a minute to effectively settle the issue.
In the 21st minute, a long ball from Costello allowed Tiarnán Crowe to palm home beyond Redmond and with Naomh Olaf still reeling, they added another goal as Fenton waltzed far too easily through the home defence before slotting home from 10 yards.
Another Coady point soon after added to the hosts' misery and it was instructive that Olaf's front six failed to score from play in the opening period, with a late score from centre-back Colin Doyle trimming their arrears to nine points (3-6 to 0-6) at the break.
Despite Purcell correcting that particular issue with an excellent point on the turn inside 30 seconds of the restart, it failed to generate momentum for the hosts with Coady fisting over his third point of the game soon after.
The visitors were content to absorb some home pressure with their full-back line of Gary Royles, Daniel Lane and Adam Wilson intent of ensuring that their opponents would struggle to find a route back into the contest.
On the rare occasion that Naomh Olaf broke through, goalkeeper Andy Bunnion raced quickly from his line to deny Purcell in the 40th minute while Fenton was quick to confirm his side's dominance with three second-half scores.
The frustration of the home side was evident in the final quarter as the goal needed to reignite their challenge failed to materialise and despite enjoying prolonged periods of possession they lacked the cutting edge to punish their opponents, with Scoil cementing their win through O'Carroll's point five minutes from time.
Scorers - Scoil Uí Chonaill: D Fenton 1-4 (0-2f); S Corry, T Crowe 1-0 each; E O'Carroll (2f), C Coady 0-3 each; L Costello 0-1. Naomh Olaf: F Purcell 0-5 (3f); B Begley 0-4 (4f); G Wilkins, C Doyle, E Kinsella 0-1 each.
Scoil Uí Chonaill: A Bunnion; G Royles, D Lane, A Wilson; A Mulvey, A Cronin, C O'Donovan; C Coady, D Nolan; S Mulligan, E O'Carroll, L Costello; S Corry, T Crowe, D Fenton. Subs: P Ryan for Mulligan (48), G O'Connell for Corry (57).
Naomh Olaf: B Redmond; D Egan, R Miley, S Mulvany; G Wilkins, C Doyle, D Fitzgerald; L Murphy, C Haskins; T O'Donoghue, F Purcell, B Begley; M McDonagh, S Whyte, S Hickey. Subs: E Kinsella for McDonagh and B Gaughran for Hickey (half-time), M Doyle for Murphy (36).
Mentors - Scoil Uí Chonaill: Declan O'Sullivan, John Coady, Michael O'Connell, Brian Kirwan, Dave Ryan, Peter Morley. Naomh Olaf: Larry Kinsella, Kevin Birrane, Mick Whyte, Shane Smyth.
Referee: Robbie Glennon (St Anne's)
Wides - Scoil Uí Chonaill: 13 (7+6); Naomh Olaf: 9 (4+5).
Conditions: A still evening with sporadic showers.
Player of the Game: Conor Coady (Scoil Uí Chonaill).