Olaf’s defend their way to Junior Title

by Gazette Reporter
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Naomh Olaf 1-8

Na Fianna 0-7


Naomh Olaf claimed the Go-Ahead Dublin Junior B title t in a rain soaked DCU St Patrick’s Campus thanks in the main to an excellent defensive display that limited scoring opportunities to their opponents Na Fianna.

Both sides had operated in Group A of the Junior B championship, Olaf’s topped the group with three wins from three which included a 2-10 to 1-05 win over tonight’s opponents Na Fianna who secured second spot in the Group A.

The two teams headed into tonight’s final in fine form on the back of impressive wins in the semi finals, Naomh Olaf had ten points to spare over Ballyboughal in a 1-13 to 1-03 win and Na Fianna seen off the challenge of St Brendans by 3-10 to 1-10.

The inclement weather since yesterday evening forced a late change of venue today from Clann Mhuire to the all weather pitch at the Drumcondra venue.

Na Fianna settled into the game from the off and raced into a two point lead inside the opening three minutes with midfielder Sinéad Rogers and corner forward Aoife Connaughton slotting over.

Naomh Olaf though soon found their feet in the slippery conditions and three points in a row in as many minutes, two from Aobha Phelan and a fine effort from Chloe Ní Cheallaigh put the Sandyford based club a point in front after ten minutes.

The pivotal score of the contest arrived at the midway point of the half, Olaf’s moved the ball at pace through the centre of the Na Fianna midfield and back-line and Aobha Phelan was on hand to finish the move to the net for the games only goal.

Both sides attacked with gusto for the next ten minutes but neither side could add to their tally with defences on top, Naomh Olaf dropped players deep when out of possession and allowed Na Fianna to work the ball to just beyond the midfield before engaging and although the Glasnevin side worked the ball into scoring areas they were either dispossessed, blocked or forced into rushed shots by a compact and resolute Olaf’s defence.

Aobha Phelan popped over a free in the 34th minute to stretch the Naomh Olaf lead to five, but two converted frees from Róisín O’Donoghue reduced the lead before the break to leave the score at half-time 1-04 to 0-04.

Olaf’s increased their lead after the break with a Aobha Phelan free and a point from Chloe Ní Cheallaigh.

Na Fianna almost turned the game on its head in the 40th minute, Elaine Kelly burst along the end line and flashed a shot across the goal, but it went narrowly wide of the post.

A pointed free from Róisín O’Donoghue reduced the deficit in the 46th minute. Na Fianna almost created another goal chance moments later when Olaf’s goalkeeper Megan Dunne miss handled a high ball in the square, but she made sure Aoife Malone wasn’t getting a shot at goal and although Dunne conceded a free, unfortunately the chance was missed.

Róisín O’Donoghue did grab the next score with a successful free attempt, her fourth of the game.

But Naomh Olaf then got on top and the pacy direct running of player of the match Ciara Murphy caused all sorts of problems for the Na Fianna defence. Chloe Ní Cheallaigh scored her third point of the game with seven minutes left on the clock to extend the Naomh Olaf lead.

Na Fianna pushed for the goal they desperately needed late in the game but came up time and time again to the resolute Olaf’s defence with players putting their bodies on the line to come up with the vital blocks and interceptions and they sealed the deal deep into injury time with a pointed free from the impressive Aobha Phelan.  

Scorers – Naomh Olaf: Aobha Phelan 1-05 (2f), Chloe Ní Cheallaigh 0-03.

Na Fianna: Róisín O’Donoghue 0-04 (4f), Sinéad Rogers 0-01, Aoife Connaughton 0-01.

Naomh Olaf: Megan Dunne, Aoife McLoughlin, Sadie Lanagan, Yseult Gallagher, Rebecca Gaughran, Julie Grimes, Saoirse Nic Coitir, Grace Crotty, Niamh Donnelly, Ciara Murphy, Aoife Maher, Laura Corbally, Niamh Lakes, Aobha Phelan, Chloe Ní Cheallaigh. Subs: Sophie Kelly for Chloe Ní Cheallaigh (46th), Grace Shanahan for Aoife McLoughlin (51), Hannah O’Kelly for Laura Corbally (60), Jen Whelan for Saoirse Nic Coitir (63), Lucy Gaughran for Yseult Gallagher (63).

Na Fianna: Molly Cassidy, Sophia Nyhan, Megan Kelly, Ciara Kelly, Hannah Carty, Amy Wall, Grace Kelly, Sinéad Rogers, Nicola Thornton, Aoife Malone, Elaine Kenny, Hannah Kelly, Aoife Connaughton, Sarah Conway, Róisín O’Donoghue. Subs: Robyn MacDonald for Sarah Conway (42), Holly Peters for Sophia Nyhan (49), Lucy Skelly for Sinéad Rogers (52), Jenny Gleeson for Hannah Kelly (60), Rachel Hogan for Amy Wall (64).

Referee: Kevin Doherty (Garda)

Action from Naomh Olaf’s Junior ‘B’ final win over Na Fianna. Picture: Maurice Grehan

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