Naomh Olaf celebrate their playoff final victory. Picture: Larry Daly

HURLING in December invariably means contesting the business end of a competition and it was promotion to AHL Division 2 on the line for St Peregrine’s and Naomh Olaf as they faced off at Blakestown road last Saturday, writes Paddy Hewson.
The southside team were ultimately edge out their west Dublin opposition to win by four points with a late flurry in a game played a frenetic pace normally reserved for summer hurling.
Olaf’s raced ahead with three points in the first ten minutes with a busy Brian Cusack contributing two. Peregrine’s were slow to heat up but hit the boil at 11 minutes through a score from Cillian Byrnes.
Colm Foley quickly followed with the first of his 10 scores of the game from the 70 metre free but it was Olaf’s who applied most of the pressure in the first half.
For the Sandyford side, James O’Connor, Sean Bourke and Eoin Murphy all contributed to their tally, but Peregrine’s Joe Fitzmaurice, Byrnes and marksman Foley ensured the sides were tied at eight points apiece at the break.
After the break, Olaf’s were again quick off the mark with two scores. Foley continued the free taking exhibition to keep Peregrine’s in touch.
The turning point came at the seventh minute when the sliotar popped around the Peregrine’s danger area like a hot potato to allow Declan O’Dwyer to seize the initiative and score a goal from close range.
The west Dublin club were now forced to up the intensity against a confident Olaf’s side. Byrnes pointed quickly in reply, Foley added to his free tally and Brian Kelleher scored one and assisted Mark Sweeney for another.
It left the home team were still in contention with five minutes to go as Foley, yet again, equalised through a free.
Olaf’s were more consistent and better able to take their chances, however, and they posted scores from all over the pitch to run out winners with four late scores. They now look forward to plying their trade in Division 2 next year.