Tribesmen aim to prove they are in a ‘league’ of their own

Galway Tribesmen captain James Kennedy, who is hoping to lead his side to a successful defence of their Rugby League title.
Galway Tribesmen captain James Kennedy, who is hoping to lead his side to a successful defence of their Rugby League title.

Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon

HAVING swept the boards last year, local Rugby League outfit, the Galway Tribesmen will look to defend their Republic of Ireland title against the Athboy Longhorns of Meath in Ashbourne RFC on Saturday (2pm).

Although only founded in 2012, The Tribesmen have made massive strides in the intervening years, culminating in the club capturing both the Republic of Ireland and All-Ireland Rugby League titles in 2016. In many respects, it signalled that the club had come of age.

This Saturday, they head to Ashbourne to defend the first of those crowns against a Longhorns side they defeated in last year’s decider and drew with – 20-20 – in the second round of the group phase earlier in the Summer.

With both teams subsequently finishing on the same number of points in the table, The Longhorns secured home advantage for the final as they had scored more during the initial phase of the competition.

Captain of the Tribesmen is 22-year-old full-back James Kennedy who, having missed last year’s victories as he opted to travel on a J1 to Chicago for the Summer, is eager to push on the club to further success in 2017.

“The pre-season really helped us at the start of the year,” begins Kennedy. “Sometimes, it is very hard to get lads out at the end of the (Rugby) Union season as lads want to take a few weeks off. However, because there was a title won last year – and there is no reason why we can’t win it again – lads started to come in big numbers before the start of the season.

“It is very hard to train with few numbers, so it just meant we had the numbers there from the beginning. So, we were laughing. We started off well. We were up in Athy first and we beat them well.”

Indeed, the Tribesmen would go on to win all of their group games with the exception of that draw against the Longhorns in the second round. As Kennedy gives a blow by blow account of each game, there is one other contest that stands out. That is their victory over the Cork Bulls.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.