League Preview: Wexford FC vs Treaty United

As the big kick-off occurs today, the excitement is at fever pitch for Airtricity League supporters. Weeks of build-up including podcasts, interviews, training and pre-season games was all leading to tonight’s start date. Unfortunately, Storm Eunice will somewhat hamper the spectacle for many but outside of the cancellation of Finn Harps and Drogheda United, all other games across both divisions appear to be good to go.

Treaty United played three pre-season friendlies against Shamrock Rovers, Finn Harps and Killarney Celtic and also played Waterford FC in the Munster Senior Cup. There has been an overhaul in the squad with Tadgh Ryan, Sean McSweeney, Anthony O’Donnell, Clyde O’Connell and Matt McKevitt all departing from last season.

Lee Devitt returns to Shannonside to play his football tonight

However, Tommy Barrett has been busy replacing these players and adding to his squad with the likes of Joe Gorman, Enda Curran, Lee Devitt and Jack Brady arriving. Martin Coughlan, Jack Arra, Conor Winn and Denzil Fernandes have also signed although the latter has disappointingly been ruled out for the season with an ACL injury.

More importantly, many of last season’s squad remain at the club with the likes of Sean Guerins, Marc Ludden, Callum McNamara and Kieran Hanlon re-signing. Treaty begin their campaign tonight with a trip to Ferrycarrig Park to face Wexford FC (7.45). Barrett admits that his squad are raring to play competitive football following a hard working pre-season. He has injury concerns ahead of the game with Sean Guerins and Dean George being given every chance to make the match day squad.

14 May 2021; Sean Guerins of Treaty United in action against James Doona of Athlone Town during the SSE Airtricity League First Division match between Treaty United and Athlone Town at Markets Field in Limerick. Photo by Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

“The lads are really looking forward to it. Pre season can be good for lads but they just want to get to competitive football. Dean is struggling but he might get a late fitness test. We will see how Sean Guerins goes as he has tendonitis in his ankle. Jack Lynch is unlikely to make it and Marc Ludden is carrying a knock so we have a few that are borderline.

Wexford FC have strengthened their squad significantly on paper with the likes of Dinny Corcoran, Conor Davis and Aaron Dobbs joining their attacking ranks, an area in which they struggled last season. With the likes of Jack Doherty and Conor Barry to create chances, manager Ian Ryan will be expecting an improvement in goal scoring numbers.

10 October 2020; Aaron Dobbs in action during his time with Shelbourne. He has signed for Wexford FC for the coming season Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Barrett is wary of the challenge his side face and thinks that Wexford have signed a squad who may challenge for a play-off place, although he believes the division is incredibly competitive.

“They (Wexford) have certainly signed a squad to do so (challenge for the play offs). It all depends on how the group forms. It’s always difficult to call at this level and there is very little between the teams. The full-time teams will have an advantage.

Hopefully we can hang in there and Wexford will probably find it difficult against those full-time teams as well but they have certainly increased their fire power. They should definitely finish above bottom.”

The Soccer Scene was full of interesting observations ahead of the game with Noel O’Connor eagerly anticipating the tie and feeling that both sides have made progress in pre-season.

Former Limerick FC Manager Noel O’Connor believes Friday night’s encounter between Wexford and Treaty will end in a draw Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Andrew Paton

“I think the teams who have the biggest improvement in the off season outside of the full-time teams are Wexford and Treaty. I think both clubs have signed very well. They have very experienced players coming in with the likes of Joe Gorman going to Treaty and Dinny Corcoran going to Wexford. I think these two will be the most improved teams in the league this year.”

Fellow pundit Jason O’Connor believes Treaty will need a win if they are serious about getting into the play-offs once again and feels that is the club’s goal.

“I think it will a very difficult game for Treaty and they can’t take anything for granted. Lets be honest, Treaty will be looking to get into the play-offs. Is that Wexford’s goal. Secretly it is with the players they have signed. I think Treaty will be going there looking for the win and if they are serious about getting into the play-offs, they will need to hit the ground running.”

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