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Olaf's green flags leave Fianna blue


  Na Fianna's Gareth Ryan, picks off a point despite a tackle from Olaf's Ronan Miley. Photo: Ray Cullen

Na Fianna's Gareth Ryan, picks off a point despite a tackle from Olaf's Ronan Miley. Photo: Ray Cullen

Na Fianna's Gareth Ryan, picks off a point despite a tackle from Olaf's Ronan Miley. Photo: Ray Cullen



First-half goals by Colin Doyle and Fearghal Purcell set Naomh Olaf on course for a comfortable four-point victory over previously unbeaten Na Fianna in their Dublin Adult Football League Division 3 encounter at Páirc Uí Bhriain on Sunday morning.

In doing so, the hosts registered their third league win on the bounce.

Na Fianna will naturally rue their sloppy opening and a number of goal opportunities were also spurned in the second half as they battled in vain to trim their arrears.

Brendan Redmond also denied the visitors with two fine stops in the second half as Olaf managed to overcome the numerical disadvantage caused by Bernard Gaughran's unnecessary dismissal in the 36th minute. The hosts looked especially sharp during that opening period and they managed to take the lead within two minutes following a close-range free by Eoin Kinsella.

Their interplay and cohesion was all too evident a minute later as a wonderful move involving David Byrne and Purcell culminated in centre-back Colin Doyle receiving Byrne's pass before firing a low finish past Eoin Butler from six yards.

Na Fianna were all at sea defensively at this stage and only over-elaboration on Olaf's behalf prevented them from falling further behind.

The visitors gradually found their feet, with Mark Cooper leading the line well from centre-forward and their opening score arrived in the fourth minute thanks to a fine effort by John Kearns.

Another goal chance was created at the opposite end from the resultant kick-out, with Liam Murphy electing to take his point.

From limited possession, Na Fianna were beginning to create chances and both Kearns and the lively Gareth Ryan registered tidy scores as the visitors' initial lethargy visibly eroded.

However, their shakiness in defence allowed the excellent Purcell to land two glorious points in quick succession and the corner-forward struck a goal at the end of the first quarter, with Byrne once again the provider.

The hosts took their foot off the gas from that juncture, allowing Na Fianna to tag on scores through Ryan and Paddy Collins to ensure they trailed by just 2-5 to 0-6 at the interval.

Despite enjoying a greater degree of possession upon the restart, Na Fianna took seven minutes to narrow their deficit further through a typically classy score from substitute David McGrath.

Gaughran's dismissal should also have helped their cause, but Naomh Olaf responded superbly through a brace of fine scores from centre-forward Brian Begley to help restore equilibrium.

Ian McGowan was unfortunate with two goal attempts and, although Darragh Byrne's 45th-minute point proved Olaf's final score of the day, two subsequent Ryan frees and another by McGowan never looked likely to turn the tide in Na Fianna's favour.