ST. PETE EDGES TAMPA BAY GAELIC, 63-52
Fueled by great play at midfield by Adham Makki and Best On Ground Basil Benjamin, the St. Petersburg Swans erased a halftime lead and ran out 9-point winners over a scrappy and determined Tampa Bay Gaelic side in the Second Annual International Rules Test Match in St. Pete, Saturday night.
After last year’s result saw a huge first half for the Red and White, only to see them hold on against a furious last-minute rally, this year’s exhibition told an entirely different tale.
With Mark Earley and Aaron Crittenden leading the way, GAA pounced from the opening bounce, quickly building a 17-point lead, before seeing St. Pete close that to just a one-point deficit at the first break.
GAA continued to dominate play in the second period, bringing consistent pressure on the rectangular field – and went to the big break up by four.
Things began to turn on Makki’s leaping mark and quick clearance, from which the Aussie Rules side was finally able to begin applying pressure of their own, with Jake Keglor, Brad Freeman and Brian McArdle constantly making the proceedings troublesome for the Gaelic defense. St. Pete would use that pressure to put up 15 in the 3rd frame, while denying GAA any sort of run. Tampa Bay Gaelic would post only 4 points in the stanza, which paved the way for a 63-52 final in favor of the Swans.
That result needn’t have been so close, however, as the Bloods were once again made nervous by their errant boots, notching 18 behinds on the small ground.
The St. Petersburg Swans return to training Thursday evening at 6 PM – at the Rollbotto Oval on Crescent Lake Common in St. Pete.