By Pierce O’Reilly
Stamford 2-12, Kerry 0-9
An understrength Kerry outfit were well beaten by Stamford in the final game of the day at Gaelic Park on Sunday. The Connecticut side were much sharper in front of goal, and with Mike "Spike" Martin hitting 2-3, they had a real hero.
Martin was deadly in the final 15 minutes and his ability to sneak inside the Kerry defense resulted in two late killer strikes.
Kerry were missing at least five regulars, including New York all-stars Bingo Driscoll, Paddy O’Connor and corner forward Jamie Driscoll. While their defense was resolute, they lacked cohesion further out the field. Johnny Driscoll, Dave McCarthy and Willie O’Donnell all hit points in the first half for the Kingdom to give them the interval advantage, yet they never looked like pulling away from their opposition.
Stamford had great performances from wing-back Keith Hennessey, Richie Purcell and Kildare native Padraic Craven in the opening half and points from dual star Tom Moylan and Kieran Gallagher kept them in touch.
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The second half was lackluster with both sets of defenders on top early. Kerry went three points up following a succession of frees from Dave McCarthy. However, they failed to score in the final 10 minutes. Stamford, on the other hand, continued to pick away at the lead, and with Martin finding the net twice in the closing period, they never looked back. His first strike was pure opportunism. He rifled a shot to the top of the net after Craven put him in on goal. The second goal was similar with Keith Hennessy finding him unmarked on the edge of the small square. Martin shot low on this occasion and gave Finbar Flood in the Kerry goal no chance.
Late points from Hennessy, Martin again and Craven gave them a well-deserved victory. Kerry will regroup for the next game. Paddy Kearney will rally his troops when he returns while Stamford will be delighted with the win.
Kerry: F. Flood, A. Finn, A. Riney, P. Dillon, L. Holland, D. Riney, P. Riney, P. Galvin, D. McSweeney, L. Hartnett 0-1, J. Driscoll 0-3, W. O’Donnell 0-1, T.J. Brennan, J. McKenna, D. McCarthy 0-4. Sub: C. Kelly.
Stamford: E. Lohan, J. O’Halloran, P. Wycombe, J. Williams, K. Hennessy 0-2, R. Purcell, E. McDonald, T. Steede, A. Fanning 0-1, K. Gallagher 0-2, P. Craven 0-1, C. Boyle 0-1, Mike Martin 2-3, T. Moylan 0-1, B. Kennedy 0-1.