Treaty Face Tough UCD Assessment

Treaty United make their second trip to the capital in seven days to take on high-flyers UCD at the Belfield Bowl on Friday night (7.45). Both sides remain unbeaten in the Airtricity League First Division with UCD sitting in second place while Treaty are 2 points and 2 places further back.

Tommy Barrett’s charges earned a dramatic 2-2 draw at Tolka Park against promotion hopefuls Shelbourne last week with a last minute Clyde O’Connell goal rescuing a share of the spoils. It was the visitors best performance of the season so far as they dominated their opponents for large spells of the opening half. Outside of a Kieran Hanlon goal, Matt Keane, Jack Lynch and Mark Walsh also went close to extending Treaty’s lead as Shelbourne looked shell shocked by their tenacity.

However, late goals from Ryan Brennan and Youssef Mahdy seemed to have captured the three points for the Dublin outfit before O’Connell stepped up to finish Marc Ludden’s corner.

30 April 2021; Treaty United players celebrate their second goal during the SSE Airtricity League First Division match between Shelbourne and Treaty United at Tolka Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

A similar level of performance and effort will be needed from the Limerick side tomorrow evening as their opponents are the division’s top scorers and boast 9 different goal scorers so far. Last weekend, UCD defeated Wexford 0-6 although the home side had two goalkeepers sent off during the game.

The College outfit have favored an attack minded 3-5-2 formation so far which is also switched to a 3-4-3 on occasion. Last season, Andy Myler’s side lost out to Galway United in the semi-final of the play-offs and lost striker Youssef Mahdy to Shelbourne. However, they have maintained the services of the likes of Colm Whelan, Liam Kerrigan and Jack Keaney who have performed well so far although Keaney is an injury doubt for this one.

Key Battle

Colm Whelan vs Guerins/O’Connell: UCD striker Whelan is the division’s top scorer with 8 goals in 6 games including 2 hattricks against Cabinteely and Wexford. He burst onto the scene last season and formed a formidable partnership with Mahdy and questions were asked as to whether he would be able to step up to the plate without his striker partner.

30 April 2021; Anthony O’Donnell of Treaty United leaves the field after he was sent off by referee Oliver Moran during the SSE Airtricity League First Division match between Shelbourne and Treaty United at Tolka Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Those fears have been put to bed quickly and once again the Treaty centre-backs will be up against it. Unfortunately for Tommy Barrett, he will be without the services of impending player of the month Anthony O’Donnell who was dismissed in injury time for two yellow cards and he will be a big loss.

However, Clyde O’Connell proved that he can provide cover in that area in Galway and played all his junior football at centre-back. His partner on Friday night will be Sean Guerins who has enjoyed a superb season. Guerins was instrumental in keeping Michael O’Connor quiet last week and has barely put a foot wrong in the Treaty jersey so far. As Jason O’Connor pointed out this week, Whelan is likely to make runs to wide positions to free-up space for midfield runners and this is a ploy which must be watched closely.

Treaty will be without the services of the aforementioned O’Donnell and the unfortunate Mark Walsh who suffered a broken jaw thanks to a poor challenge from Michael O’Connor last week. The midfielder is expected to be out for at least three months with the injury. Furthermore Conor Melody and Joel Coustrain continue their return from injury. Charlie Fleming returns from a three game suspension and will be out to prove a point while Dean George’s return was a welcome one.

30 April 2021; Treaty United assistant manager David Rooney shields his eyes from the sun in the warm-up before the SSE Airtricity League First Division match between Shelbourne and Treaty United at Tolka Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Speaking ahead of the game, last week’s goal scorer Clyde O’Connell says Treaty have nothing to lose on Friday night: “

We have nothing to lose just like every week we have nothing to lose. We are not going to go up there fearing them. People probably didnt think we would get a result of Galway and we probably should have got three points there. In saying that, UCD are a great team and I expect them to be up there at the end of the season.”

Goalkeeper Tadgh Ryan echoes O’Connell’s sentiments:

“UCD do look a strong outfit but so do every side in the first division. It’s a very competitive league and anyone can beat anyone on the day. You have seen now that no matter what game we go into, we have nothing to fear and we can get something out of every game.”

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