AIB Cup Win

November 8, 2018

Olaf’s rising to heights of old

By niall scully

Tuesday June 24 2008

AROUND the Sandyford Dunes, they are calling them the Balally Seven. Back in 1999, Naomh Olaf won senior football’s AIB Cup. This month they repeated the feat.

It was their first feel of silver since ’99. Seven players played in both finals — Cathal Daughton, Paddy Feehan, Eric Horgan and Darragh Maxwell started against Isles in ’99.

And coming off the bench were young lads, Eoin Christian, Eoin Kinsella and Fearghal Purcell. They all contributed handsomely to this season’s success against Kilmacud Crokes.

‘Back in 1999, Division 1 teams also competed in the AIB competition, and we beat a star-studded Isles team in Parnell Park,’ recalls Olaf’s mentor, Kevin Birrane.

‘Isles had fellas like the three Barrs — Keith, Johnny and Eddie — Mick Deegan, Charlie Redmond and Niall Crossan, so it was a big win for us.’ Olaf’s icon, Tommy Brennan, managed the team back then. Tommy’s inspirational leadership was so much a part of the club’s progress from the depths of junior football.

These days, the Division 1 sides are excluded from the tournament, but the Olaf’s achievement was still memorable.

In the final they beat their neighbours from across the hedge, Kilmacud Crokes.

‘The game was fixed for O’Toole Park, but because we were so close we decided to toss for venue. We won, so it was played at P irc U Bhriain,’ explains Kevin.

Olaf’s had six points to spare in the finish over Kilmacud’s second team, who last term emerged from a pulsating contest against Naomh Barr g to preserve their senior football status.

The final had been held up for months. Frankie Roebuck got Olaf’s to the red carpet, and it was JJ Martin who completed the job. JJ was a central figure in the three-in-a-row Championship triumph of Thomas Davis in 1989, ’90 and ’91.

He played for Cavan for a decade, losing two Ulster finals and a McKenna Cup final. From the small Cavan village of Bawnboy, JJ has football in the blood, and he’s enjoying his new post.

His next mission is to break the home hoodoo. All of Olaf’s Division 2 points have been earned away.

‘As they say, we are good on the road,’ quips Kevin Birrane. Last time out, Eoin Kinsella equalised with the last kick of the game at the seaside against Skerries, who brought on Bryan Cullen.

Scoring three elegant points for Olaf’s was Killian Lynch, a son of Dr Brendan, who won Sam with Kerry in 1975. Killian also has Kerrygold in the boots. Now in his second season with the club, he’s showing his worth as a corner-forward.