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Wednesday 25 April 2018

Olafs shrug off slow start to reach semis

Naomh Olaf's wonderful 2013 campaign shows few signs of abating as they overcame Kilcormac-Killoughey by 2-8 to 0-9 in their Leinster Intermediate Football Championship quarter-final at O'Toole Park last Sunday afternoon.

The Balally club recovered from a sluggish opening, in which the Offaly club seized the initiative early on, with a fortuitous goal by Darragh Byrne helping settle the Dublin champions.

The high error count was a concern for Olaf's mentors and as team manager Larry Kinsella conceded, his side were happy to trail by just 0-6 to 1-2 at the interval.

"To be honest, we were delighted to be behind by just that margin at the break as Kilcormac played well in that first half and our lads were guilty of playing nervous football," said Kinsella. "We were much improved for the second-half and although you could never say that we were comfortable, we managed to keep them at arm's length and finish strongly to get over the line."

That improvement was kick-started by three Eoin Kinsella points early in the second-half and a crucial goal arrived in the 43rd minute as Eoin Christian netted within two minutes of his introduction.

Kilcormac bounced back well when recording the next two scores but the goal required to kickstart their comeback failed to materialise as Kevin Birrane, Andy Murphy and Bernard Gaughan excelled in the Olaf's defence.

Insurance points arrived through Colin Doyle and Feargal Purcell with Kinsella even afforded the luxury of tapping over the crossbar from a late penalty, with a semi-final at O'Toole Park next Sunday against Ballyroan from Laois already secured.

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