Rugby League's Tribesmen kick off season in style

The Galway Tribesmen got their 2024 campaign up and running with a convincing win over the Cork Bulls last Saturday at Douglas Rugby Club in Cork.

The match, which was played in unseasonably cool conditions, was preceded by a minute’s silence in respect of the recently deceased Rugby League Ireland stalwart, Tony Dale.

The initial exchanges were a little bit scrappy as both teams were guilty of some unforced errors. The Galway men struck first when Rex Aghabueze made a break down the left wing and registered a four pointer between the posts. Ryan Convey converted to give the Tribesmen a six-point lead with ten minutes past.

Both teams settled into the contest and hard running from captain Abdul-haq Abayomi and veteran forward Enda Stanford set the platform for the Galway men, whilst the Bulls countered with uncompromising forwards Idris Rqibi and Dave Kelly.

The Tribesmen went further ahead when a neat offload from Ethan Fifita allowed Kyle Barrett to skip through and place the ball over the line. Convey again added the two points. The Galway men continued to push for further scores but were thwarted in their efforts by a gallant Cork defence. However, a break down the middle for the Tribes resulted in second rower Daniel O'Connell scoring a try. With Convey withdrawn through injury, Barrett took over the kicking duties adding a further two points.

Despite this, the Cork men continued battling and were rewarded when loose forward Rqibi crashed over to register the home teams first points. Ronan Johnson converted the try to put the score at 18-6. The scores did not stay like this for long though as Barrett ran in for his second try, which he also converted. This put the score at 24-6 and this was how the first half finished.

The reintroduction of past master Andrew Atonio after a long hiatus, gave the visitors further impetus going into the second half and they began to dominate proceedings. Fullback Florian Jeanlebouef collected the ball inside the Tribes 40 metre line and broke down the right wing to score a long range try. Barrett again added the conversion.

Whilst the Cork half backs utilised everything in their tool-kit to get the Bulls moving forward, they could not find a way through the Tribes line. Another break by Aghabueze down his flank led to his second try, which again was converted by Barrett.

As the clock wound down, the visitors kept up the pressure and back rower Martin Molloy barged over the line for a try. Barrett added the two pointer, finishing the game with the score-line reading 42-6 to the Tribesmen.

Both teams gave 100% throughout the 80 minutes and were able to field several debutants. Whilst the Galway team were stronger on the day, there were positive signs from the Cork outfit and on another occasion, the gap may not have been so wide.


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