Olaf into final after annexing Abbey
NAOMH OLAF led from start to finish when recording a well-merited 1-11 to 0-7 victory over Ballyroan Abbey in their Leinster Intermediate Football Championship semi-final at O'Toole Park last Sunday afternoon.
Their cause was assisted by the indiscipline shown by the Laois champions who had three players dismissed over the hour with frustrations taking their toll as the contest developed in the second half.
The Dublin champions impressed from the outset and, despite squandering a number of chances, they opened up a three-point lead through scores by John McGrath, Eoin Christian and Brian Begley.
With Conor Hoskins delivering an exceptional performance in midfield, Olaf's continued to impress and a brace of Eoin Kinsella points ensured a deserved 0-5 to 0-2 interval lead for the Balally men.
The second-half resumed in a similarly positive vein and they placed one foot in the final when a free-flowing move in the 35th minute culminated in Christian finding the net from a well-timed pass from Darragh Byrne.
Naomh Olaf's strength in depth was reflected in their contribution from the bench with Feargal McCann kicking two sublime points from play with Kinsella and McGrath also on target as the southsiders led by 1-9 to 0-6 by the end of the third quarter.
With Ballyroan losing players at regular intervals, including former Laois captain Pádraig McMahon, the final quarter proved a comfortable one for Olaf with Bernard Gaughran, Colin Doyle and David Byrne once again excelling in their half-back duties.
Their reward is a final date against Geraldine's on Sunday week at a Louth venue to be confirmed with Olaf manager Larry Kinsella hopeful that his side's wonderful season will stretch beyond their provincial campaign.
"We haven't really looked beyond any game so far this year and we'll just knuckle down over the next 10 days and prepare as best we can for the final. It has been a historic year for the club and we will work hard to prolong it as best we can," said Kinsella.