The Galway Tribesmen suffered their first defeat of the season when they hosted the current All Ireland champions Longhorn RL in NUIG Dangan last Saturday.
The home side lost this round four of the Rugby League Ireland Championship by 18-36, having led at the break by 14-10.
The game was always going to be a keenly fought contest with arguably the two best teams in the country going head to head, and they did not disappoint the substantial number of supporters.
Both defences were tested in the opening quarter, but the Tribesmen conceded a number of penalties to give the Longhorns good field position. Eventually the visitors opened the scoring after 20 minutes through Andrew Coade, who converted his own try.
The Galway men responded well, and a good break down the left by Ed O’Keeffe set up Shane Faulkner who crossed for their opening try, and with the conversion added, the scores were level at six apiece.
It was not long though before the Meath men crossed again after some clever play in the midfield, but in the tit for tat nature of the opening half, the Tribesmen hit back through Daithi Joyce, who scored in the right hand corner after the forwards had laid a solid platform. The Tribesmen continued to apply pressure and added four more points through back rower Gavin Dolan just before half time for a four-point lead.
The home side continued to apply pressure with halfbacks Peter Connolly and Daithi Joyce moving their forwards around well. A break down the middle allowed substitute Nacaneli Susi to cross for a another try, putting the Tribesmen in a good position at 18-10 to close out the game.
However, ill-discipline and sloppy play crept in and the Longhorns, allowed back into the game, capitalised with two tries and a conversion in quick succession to edge ahead again at 18-20.
The Tribesmen tried desperately to regain a foothold, but the Longhorns showed their championship credentials upping the pressure and adding two more scores through talented centre Kevin Varga and another from Coade.
As the game drifted from the Tribesmen, the Longhorns added another try to add insult to injury . Although the final score was not a reflection of the game until the last 15 minutes, the Galway men now need to iron out their inconsistencies if are they to present a challenge for honours at the business end of the season.