Senior Football

November 8, 2018

AIB Cup Final – report by Chris O’Grady

Naomh Olaf Senior Footballers bridged a nine year gap on Wednesday evening when they captured the AIB Cup with a convincing win against Kilmacud Crokes at Wedgewood.

A number of the 1999 winning side including  veterans Paddy Feehan, Eric Horgan, Darragh Maxwell and Cathal Daughton contributed greatly to the victory on a wet and dull evening. The home side, however, lifted the gloom with a spirited display and thoroughly deserved to lift the trophy

Naomh Olaf opened brightly and were two points up in as many minutes following a Simon Hickey free and one from play by team captain Fergal Purcell. The lively visitors drew level in the next two minutes but Hickey again restored the two point advantage with two points, one from a free and one from play. The next fifteen minutes were barren for the Olafs men and Crokes kicked five unanswered points to lead by three with five minutes to go in the first half.

A good goal by Fergal McCann, who cut in from the left put the home side back on level terms and points by Eoin Christian from play and Hickey from a free left the Olafs men ahead by the minimum at the break, 1-6 to 0-8.

Driven on by a resolute defence Naomh Olaf opened the scoring in the second half with a point from Purcell, only to see it cancelled out by the visitors by the fifth minute. Hickey from a free restored the two-point advantage before the Crokes full-back was dismissed by referee Jim Turner.

Any notion that fourteen men might rally and play better than the full side were quickly dispelled when Olafs upped their game considerably and, driven forward by Cormac Lucey, Conor Sabolovsky and Maxwell,  stretched the lead to five points with scores from play by Purcell, Shane White and Christian with just over ten minutes left.

Two further points from McCann following one from Crokes left six points between the sides going in to added time. Crokes pressed hard but, with the home defence holding firm, could only show one further point for their efforts and Naomh Olaf were AIB champions for the second time in their history