Kieran Hanley on the attack for the Naomh Olaf Senior Footballers v Na Fianna

SATURDAY, November 27 will be remembered as a momentous day in the annals of Naomh Olaf as the club’s Merrion Fleet sponsored senior footballers overcame the challenge of Na Fianna 2-20 to 0-4 in Pairc Ui Bhriain.
The victory sees them join neighbours Ballinteer St John’s as the two teams to gain promotion to the top tier of Dublin football for 2018.
This success was all the more impressive as the Sandyford outfit had spent only a single year in Division 2, having gained promotion from Division 3 12 months ago.
In truth, Saturday’s success was a facile win over an understrength Na Fianna team with conflicting concerns in the wake of their intermediate football championships success.
But that will in no way overshadow the achievement for Olafs and it will be celebrated long into the winter and beyond in the Balally clubhouse.
The team’s success was built on an excellent season which saw them beaten only twice, the second of those defeats coming in the final regular season match against Raheny.
This denied them automatic promotion as league winners but, consigned to the playoff route, no mistake was made as wins against Raheny and Na Fianna grabbed the second promotion spot.
Saturday’s match was expected to be an anxious affair but Shane Smith had his charges well prepared and they drove into the Na Fianna challenge from the outset.
A first half goal from Kieran Hanley, a succession of well-taken points, a mean defence which gave no quarter and a second half goal from Ryan Cafferkey sealed a 2-20 to 0-4 win long before the finish and the celebrations began in earnest as the final whistle blew.
It completes a perfect season for Olafs on the football front with club PRO Fin Mairtin reflecting on 2017: “This is a welcome reward for a young team who have been well coached and managed.
“It emphasises a lot of the good work which has been going on in recent years at juvenile level and it completes the hat trick of football league titles as the seniors joined the two junior teams who also gained promotion from their respective leagues.
“Indeed, it rounds off the most successful year ever for the teams in claret in blue as they landed over a dozen trophies.
“Camogie, hurling and ladies football – at both adult and juvenile level – can join the footballers in celebration of a year that will be hard to beat and they will look forward in anticipation to what the new year will bring.”