As their first ever Betfred Challenge Cup appearance approaches, Europe’s most westerly Rugby League club head east for their First Round clash against St Helens’ own Pilkington Recs. The Galway Tribesmen are Ireland’s only representative in this year’s competition, and they’ll be looking to become the first Irish club to progress to the Second Round.
Club secretary, Thomas Hynes, said: “We’re proud and we’re honoured to take part in such a prestigious tournament, we can’t wait to get involved and show people what we’re about.”
The current All-Ireland Champions make the journey across the Irish Sea with high hopes, but it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Hynes, who founded the club in 2012, said: “Rugby League wasn’t really played in Connacht, so a few people came together to create a team that could compete in the RLI tournaments.
“It was really tough at the beginning, but in subsequent years we’ve grown a lot and made huge strides. Many people have contributed to our growth, and we were proud to field a Women’s team – Galway Tribeswomen – for the first time last season.
“To improve year on year is the aim and competing in such a prestigious competition will hopefully be a catalyst for that.”
The Tribesmen will take confidence from their 30-16 Grand Final victory over rivals Dublin City Exiles back in August as they look to start this year like they finished the last but are aware of the challenge posed by Pilkington Recs on Saturday.
Hynes said: “We’re playing one of the best Amateur sides in the game, but no tie would’ve been an easy one and whatever the outcome it’ll be a memorable experience.”
They sail over on Friday evening and are set to arrive in St Helens at 2am on the Saturday morning, just over twelve hours before kick-off.
Hynes insists this isn’t an issue for the team and stated: “They won’t let anything get in the way. They’re focused and ready, they’re taking this very seriously and there’s a lot of confidence amongst the players. They can’t wait to show what they can do.”
A team brimming with confidence, Galway Tribesmen are ready for what’s ahead – a First Round tie in one of the most historic competitions in sport edges closer for the Champions of Ireland.
Tickets for the 2022 Betfred Challenge Cup Final on Saturday 28 May at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium are available to purchase here.