Treaty United striker Kieran Hanlon already has two goals this season and will be hoping to add to his tally this Friday evening against Cabinteely at Stradbrook.
‘Red’ linked up with Tommy Barrett and Treaty for their short pre-season three months ago and has played every First Division game since for the Limerick side. Alongside Sean McSweeney in the attacking positions, the former Ballynanty foirward has provided a vital out-ball option this season with his physical presence and ball control.
However, the 26 year-old has had to work extremely hard to get up to speed for the demands of League of Ireland football. Treaty’s short pre-season was always going to cause problems for junior soccer players and speaking to Sporting Limerick’s Adrian Finnin, Hanlon admitted he was far from match-fit when he first arrived in UL for training.
“It was going to be a slow start for me coming back in. I was overweight – about two stone overweight at the time. I met Tommy two days before signing and we didn’t know whether we were going to sign until June or whether we were going to sign at the start of the season
“I just wanted to get signed up and put my mind to something because if I hadn’t signed until June I probably would have put it off and put it off. I just said to Tommy ‘Look, I’ll come in and work hard and try and get as fit as I can as soon as I can’
“The first month it was flying off me and then it just gets tougher and tougher. I’m getting there now. The first game against Bray I was kind of struggling away but since then I’ve progressed every week. My fitness levels have been getting better and better and I seem to be playing better and feeling better as well.”
Transitioning from Junior Soccer to League of Ireland level is always a challenge for local footballers but that was the very reason the opportunity excited Hanlon so much. He has become a key player in the Treaty team and his audacious effort against UCD did the rounds on social media earlier this month.
“There’s a lot of good players at Junior level and when I went back to Junior level I played at a decent standard with decent clubs and stuff. I just never done it at junior soccer – like I scored the goals and stuff but I never put in as much hard work as I should have, like I’ve done with senior soccer.
“It’s just the envirnoment and stuff. that’s why i do it. It’s a challenge for me when I come here – and I’m not saying its not a challenge in junior soccer because it is cause you come up against good defenders and if you go off for a bottle of water they’ll follow you to that bottle of water like!”
Treaty take on Cabinteely this Friday evening at Stradbrook (KO 19:45, LOI TV) as they look to build on last week’s teriffic 1-0 win against Athlone.