Galway Tribesmen 15
Athboy Longhorns 8
The Galway Tribesmen secured a narrow victory against the Athboy Longhorns to secure the Republic of Ireland title last Saturday. The team now will do battle against the best that Northern Ireland has to offer in the All Ireland final next Saturday in the club's biggest game in their short history.
Fresh from their win the previous week against the Dublin City Exiles, the men from the west started the game where they had left off last week and had the Longhorns under pressure from the start. The Tribesmen were awarded a scrum as early as the second minute close to the Longhorns' line but the Galway men were unable to capitalize on this early pressure. The first points of the game went to the Longhorns when they were awarded a kickable penalty on the 14th minute mark and their Irish International Casey Dunne duly slotted the ball between the posts to register two points.
However the Tribesmen led by their captain Andrew ‘Mika’ Atonio regained the initiative and quickly replied with a well worked try by winger Eddie Weaver in the corner. With an unsuccessful conversion attempt this put the Tribesmen ahead 4-2.
Both teams tried everything in order to gain the advantage but both were unyielding in their defence and it was difficult to see where the next points were going to come from.
The question was answered in the 35th minute when Alan McMahon stepped up for the Tribesmen and cleverly slotted over a drop goal. The one pointer gave the Tribesmen a 5-2 lead on the scoreboard and that was the score at the break.
The match resumed with the Longhorns in robust form and they immediately stole a march when Simon Deevy burst over from close range to put the Meath men in the ascendency. With Dunne slotting the conversion over this gave them an 8-5 advantage over the men from the west.
However, it was not long before the Tribesmen were back in the hunt, when no nonsense prop forward Jason East, making a significant contribution for the second week running, added a further four points to the Galway men’s tally. Peter O’Neill converted to give the Tribesmen an advantage of 11-8.
As the game progressed, both teams displayed tenacious defence and try scoring opportunities were few and far between despite the impressive running displays of Deevy for the Longhorns and Jacob Spargo and East for the Tribesmen.
The Tribesmen have come into a rich vein of form at the right time of the season and they were virtually faultless for the remainder of the game. The Longhorns, however were guilty of a couple indiscretions which were punished by the boot of O’Neill who secured two further penalty kicks to add four further points for the Tribesmen. The tension was running high as the clock ran down but the Tribesmen maintained their impenetrable defensive wall and claimed the Republic of Ireland title.
The Tribesmen now march on to the All Ireland final next Saturday at the Carlisle Grounds in Bray, where they face the winners of the Northern Ireland league, the Ballynahinch Rabbitohs, in which the winners will be crowned the best team on the island of Ireland. This has been a monumental season for the Tribesmen who started off the season with a ground breaking tour to north Wales and are now on the verge of lifting the trophy that will confirm them the best team in country.
The final kicks off at 2pm at the Carlisle Grounds in Bray, Co Wicklow, Saturday August 6.