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Olaf silenced by Louth men

GERALDINES 0-13

NAOMH OLAF 0-9

Naomh Olaf's dreams of provincial glory were cruelly dashed as they succumbed to a dominant Geraldines outfit by four points in their Leinster Intermediate Football Championship final replay at Parnell Park last Saturday afternoon.

In hindsight, it is probable that the Dublin champions left their chance behind them in the initial final nine days ago as they failed to replicate the quality of that display last Sunday.

For one, Naomh Olaf were far too guilty of unforced errors and their use of possession failed to utilise the scoring threat that their forward line possess with only five points from play accrued over 60 minutes.

That they remained in the hunt was testament to their battling qualities that was a feature of their run through both Dublin and Leinster but as manager Larry Kinsella conceded, they had few arguments on the day.

"I think it is fair to say that we were chasing the game from the start and we really can't have too many complaints with the final result," said Kinsella.

"We were guilty of turning over the ball far too often, especially in the first half, and they had the quality to punish us with some excellent long-distance scores."

Despite Brian Begley opening the scoring for the Dublin champions in the third minute, Geraldines assumed complete control for the ensuing eight minutes and pushed four points clear following scores by Jim McEneaney, Glen Traynor, Johnny Breen, Shane O'Hanlon and Stephen Reidy.

Olaf responded with an excellent team score that culminated in Eoin Christian popping over from Gary Wilkins' pass but Traynor restored that four-point lead with a well-taken score in the 13th minute.

The second quarter was more even with Colin Doyle and David Byrne managing to keep a tighter rein on the Geraldines attack, and another cohesive move in the 29th minute saw Fearghal Purcell trim his side's arrears to just 0-8 to 0-4 by half-time.

CONCEDING

Slowly but surely, Olaf began to eat into their deficit in the third quarter and despite conceding scores to both McEneaney and O'Hanlon, points at the opposite end by Begley, Purcell and Fergal McCann left Geraldines holding on to a narrow two-point lead by the 45th minute.

The turning point arrived six minutes later as the Dubliners pierced the Geraldines defence but Byrne and Begley failed to work the overlap to telling effect, with Nathaniel Cooney bravely blocking Begley's close-range effort.

Although Eoin Kinsella soon left the bare minimum between the sides with five minutes remaining, the feeling persisted that Cooney's save would prove pivotal and so it materialised as Geraldines finished strongly through insurance points by substitutes Dara Hamill and Josh Arrowsmith.

"The five points at the start of the game stood to them, especially in a low-scoring encounter," said Kinsella.

"We had our chances the first day but that was never really the case on Sunday despite their goalkeeper pulling off a great save late in the game.

"If you had asked me at the start of the year whether we would have accepted a Dublin title, then of course we would have been happy with that.

"However, having won the county championship and then beaten some quality sides in our provincial run, then it is naturally disappointing to end the season in this manner," he concluded.


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