NAOMH Olaf have survived relatively unscathed from a hectic schedule to be in good shape for their Leinster intermediate football championship final next Sunday against Geraldine’s in Drogheda.
The Sandyford side overcame an incredibly intense run of four games in 12 days to annex the Dublin title last month. They subsequently lined out in the first round of the Leinster championship against a fancied Johnstownbridge just four days later, but managed to get over the line.
Offaly’s Kilcormac-Killoughey and Laois side Ballyroan Abbey have since been defeated, allowing Olaf’s a two week build-up to Sunday’s final.
But despite this helter-skelter schedule, the club’s Larry Kinsella says that his side has rolled with the punches particularly well.
“By any standards, it was tough on the players. We got on a roll, into a rhythm with a strong panel and have coped well,” he told GazetteSport.
Shane Whyte is on the comeback trail but sharp-shooter Eoin Kinsella could miss the final with a broken toe sustained in the semi-final.
“He would be a big loss, but we have a strong panel and that has been the strength in our achievement this year in the Dublin and Leinster championship. Every game, we have had two or three players injured, but those stepping into the breach have been just as good.”
Looking at the opposition, Kinsella knows that they are in for a huge battle against a club very much on the up.
“We have no experience as such of them, apart from the research we have done. I’m sure they have done the same on us. They won Division 2 of the league in Louth so are now a Division 1 side and have some intercounty players on their panel – Gerry Hoey in centre back, Jim McEneaney in centre forward.
“They are a club in a good place as they have won four out of the last six minor championships. They are on the way up and were impressive in their own county final and the Leinster championship to date, so it is all to play for. It’s all down to who wants it most.
“It’s been a whole new experience for us. Playing in Leinster was the last thing on our mind when we were in the Dublin championship. Then we found ourselves playing Johnstownbridge a few days after beating Fingallians,” said Kinsella.
“We’ve progressed nicely without having played particularly well so hopefully we will bring our A game on Sunday but the opposition are a serious operation and we respect them fully.”