Treaty United welcome current FAI Senior Cup holders Dundalk to the Markets Field on Sunday afternoon (2pm). The game is being played on Sunday due to the Lilywhites involvement in the Europa Conference League against Levadia Tallinn last Thursday which ended in a 2-2 draw.
It is the senior men’s side’s first venture into the historical competition although current assistant manager Dave Rooney led last year’s senior women’s side to a semi-final against Cork City. News has emerged this week that Shane Lowth and Adam Foley have departed the club to add to the recent departures of Shane Cusack and Edmond O’Dwyer.
Ex Fairview Rangers and Cobh Ramblers man Brian Murphy was unveiled last week while Steven Christopher made his debut as a first half substitute. Dean George and Conor Melody remain long-term absentees while it remains to be seen whether Joel Coustrain will make a return to the match day squad.
Team selection will be difficult for Tommy Barrett for the first time in a while. Jack Lynch, Callum McNamara and Joe Collins excelled in the middle of the park against UCD but you will also have Sean McSweeney and Clyde O’Connell desperate to push for a starting berth. Mark Walsh is likely to be entrusted with the centre-back position next to Anto O’Donnell following last week’s performance.
Willie Armshaw has made a great impact from the bench so far this season and has contributed to 7 points being picked up due to goals and assists since the June break. However, the former St. Michaels man did not last the full half against UCD and Barrett said that his stamina must improve at Airtricity League level before he can start regularly. As a result, it is likely to be a straight shoot out between Ed McCarthy and Christopher for a starting berth while Matt Keane will operate on the opposite wing.
Barrett agrees that it is a glamour tie for the club but realises the enormity of the challenge facing his team against Dundalk.
“Yeah it is (a great draw) but it is going to be very difficult for us. It is a different level altogether and it will be a massive step-up for us. We can only give it our best shot and hope to give a good performance. Its one of those games where you have to try and hang in there.”
Striker Kieran Hanlon is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to face one of the best teams in the country over the last decade.
“It’s a great draw for us as you just want to go out and play against the best. The aim is to play against the best every week and they have proven that they are one of the best teams in Ireland. But we will give it a real go and see where it takes us.”
As previously mentioned, Dundalk will have one eye on their second leg tie against Levadia Tallinn and it remains to be seen what type of team Vinny Perth selects for the clash but due to the strength in depth still at the club, a strong side will be available. With players like Sean Murray, Patrick McEleney and David McMillan at your disposal, it is as potent a strike force as any in Ireland.
Sporting Limerick soccer analyst Noel O’Connor is hopeful that Treaty can give a good account of themselves on Sunday and feels that Dundalk aren’t the force that they once were.
“It is certainly a great game for the squad to look forward to and they are at home. They had an extra two days rest as well and Dundalk are in European action at the minute. The team selection depends on where Vinny Perth’s priorities lie because they will have the second leg in Europe the week after. They have lost a lot of good players in the last 5 or 6 months also. Its a great opportunity for Treaty and a game to look forward to.”
Limerick citizens have not witnessed an FAI Senior Cup parading through the city and county streets since 1982 when a Brendan Storan goal provided a narrow 1-0 victory for Limerick United over Bohemians at Dalymount Park. The most recent appearance for a Limerick senior soccer side in the latter stages of the FAI Cup was in 2017 when Neil McDonald led Limerick FC to a semi-final against Cork City where Georoid Morrissey scored the winner for the Leesiders.