By Mike Fitzpatrick
Stamford 3-17, Tyrone 2-7
A late successful penalty kick for Tyrone gave a little sheen to this scoreline but in reality it was Stamford all the way in this senior football Div. 1 game.
The form that saw the Ulster side climb to the top of the table back in May seemed to have deserted them, as the lads from Connecticut steamrolled their way towards the playoffs. Tyrone are still safe though, having won their earlier games, and even caused some of the Gaelic Park aficionados to wonder whether we had new title contenders when they remained at the top of the table for some time. All that, even after having lost a number of their star performers from last season. New York All Stars Sean Teague, and brothers Michael and Martin Slowey all left the white and reds, and there were indeed many who questioned whether they would still be up there challenging for honors this time around.
But the Ulstermen have proved the naysayers wrong with some fine displays of football, and will be around for the latter parts of the season.
The game itself was never really much of a contest. It opened at a breakneck speed, with Dublin man Colin Moran and Adrian Carney opening the scoring for Stamford with four points between them.
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Ronan O¹Reilly hit one back for Tyrone, and Paul McGuirk agonizingly hit the post with the goal at his mercy. McGuirk did make amends minutes later when he fired the ball in past James McAlvey to bring Tyrone right back into the contest. That was all the scoring Tyrone could manage in the first half as Stamford powered forward. Brian Stynes, Moran, Ronan O¹Connor and Declan Curtin all hit scores to give the out of state side a convincing eight-point lead at the break.
Barry Tally in the Tyrone goal made a fine save from Stynes to keep the difference in scores from going into double figures, but after the break, it was immaterial, with Stamford doing most of the attacking.
Tyrone upped a gear going into the second period, with McGuirk, hitting three more, to add to efforts from Dermot Lane, Danny Barr and Gerry Gaynor, but at that stage, Stamford had gone way ahead. Goals from Moran and Ronan O¹Connor gave Stamford the vital two championship points, and who¹s to say these dark horses from Connecticut won¹t cause a few more surprises before mid October.
Tyrone: Barry Tally, Joe Firth, Karl Quinn, Marty McClennan, Collie Fearon, Paul Cormican, Philip Sloane, Dermot Lane (0-1), Danny Barr (0-1), Gerry Flanagan, Darren Flanagan (1-0), Gerry Gaynor (0-1), Duke Devlin, Paul McGuirk (1-3), Ronan O¹Reilly (0-1)
Stamford: James McAlvey, Phil Wickham, Pat Coyne, Mark Comerford, Ronan O¹Connor, Richie Purcell, Jason Williams, Brian Stynes (0-3), Keith Hennessy, Colin Moran (2-3), Paul Galvin (0-1), Justin O¹Halloran, Declan Curtin (0-1), Ronan O¹Connor (1-4), Adrian Carney (0-4). Sub: Spike Martin (0-1).