Titleholders Tribesmen open home defence on Saturday

Defending rugby league champions Tribesmen host their first home game of the new season against West Dublin Bears at South Park on Saturday (2pm ).

The Tribesmen will be looking to add to their solid start to the new season having begun their title defence with a 30-26 win over Athy Sharks in Kildare last weekend.

Both teams were a little rusty in the initial exchanges, but it was the home side who enjoyed the early pressure until the Tribesmen found their stride. Forward Emmet Grehan registered the Tribesmen's first points with a try after 15 minutes, with Peter O'Neill converting for a six-point lead.

The Galway men continued pressing for openings, and some clever interplay between captain Anthony Leifi and Conor Loughrey resulted in Loughrey scoring his debut try for the Tribesmen. O'Neill added the two points to extend the lead to 12 points.

The Sharks, however, hit back with a try on 25 minutes after some sustained pressure near the Tribesmen line, reducing the deficit to just six, and continued to dominate, but a break down by Anthony Leifi and an intuitive long inside pass to the supporting Conor Loughrey, resulted in his second try.

Before the break the Tribesmen extended their lead to 20-6 when James 'Junior' Kennedy produced his first try of 2017, but once again the visitors raised their game. Faster ruck plays and a more coordinated attack saw them grab a couple of tries in quick succession to come within four points, 20-16, midway through the second half.

The Tribesmen, however, stuck to their game plan and continued to work for each other. Their reward came after 70 minutes when Peter O'Neill scored a try and converted, and then, from the resulting kickoff, the Tribesmen regathered the ball and Nicholas Clark found a gap and touched down to extend the lead to 30-16.

Although Sharks produced a late flurry with two tries and one conversion, narrowing the gap to four again, it was not enough to stop the Galwegians.


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