Treaty United travel to Lissywoolen on Friday night to take on Athlone Town in search of their first league victory of the season. Kick-off remains at 19.45 for the Saint Patrick’s Day clash between the sides. In their last outing, Treaty succumbed to a 0-3 home defeat to Cobh Ramblers while Athlone were also on the wrong end of a 0-1 scoreline on their home patch.
It has been a tough start to the season for Tommy Barrett’s side and it is relatively uncharted waters for Treaty as they have made solid starts to the previous two seasons at this level. Thus far, Treaty have suffered home defeats against Bray and Cobh, an away defeat to league favourites Galway and a draw with league newcomers Kerry FC. The Limerick side have managed to score just one goal in that period and it was no surprise that it was Enda Curran to grab the goal in Kerry.
Surprisingly, Barrett opted to play Curran as a ‘second striker’ supporting Dean George last week. The strike still came close on three separate occasions but the Galway man has been frustrated in the opening four outings. Dean George limped off with an injury last week and it remains to be seen if he will be fit to face his former club. Success Edogun enjoyed one of his better performances for Treaty from the right wing. His pace and power allowed him to get the better of Cian Browne on occasion and he will be pushing to retain his place in the side.
Conor Barry has been an ever present for Treaty so far and has looked resourceful during periods of each game and came close to scoring against both Kerry and Cobh. Considering the defensive frailties which were evident in the second period against Cobh albeit as Treaty were chasing an equaliser, a couple of changes in that area may be expected.
Former Cork midfielder Alec Byrne has made three brief substitute appearances since joining and is an option to partner Lee Devitt in midfield. The move would free up Mark Walsh to partner Anto O’Donnell at centre-back as the two had a relatively successful partnership for a few games in 2021 due to the absence of Sean Guerins. Goalkeeper Shane Hallahan has started the last two games and despite some nervy distribution, the netminder hasn’t done a lot wrong.
Athlone started the season in positive fashion with victories over rivals Longford Town and Finn Harps but have since endured back to back defeats against Wexford and Waterford. They have also failed to score in the last two games. There were several new overseas signings made by Dermot Lennon over the winter with the likes of Frantz Pierrot, German Fuentes Rodriguez, Jamar Campion Hinds and Isaie Louis arriving at the Athlone Town Stadium. A complete squad rebuild was needed following a 9th place finish in 2022 although when Lennon arrived, results certainly improved which allowed them to overtake Cobh Ramblers and avoid the dreaded bottom position.
Aaron Connolly captains the side and is joined by some members of last year’s squad including Noah Van Geenan, Enda Minogue and Patrick Hickey. Treaty will have to be aware of the pace of Campion Hinds, Louis and Pierrot as a front three while Hickey brings plenty of physicality to the midfield area.
Both sides will need a win to build confidence and Treaty have enjoyed a very good record against Athlone since their inception into the First Division. Since 2021, Treaty have won four meetings while Athlone have just one solitary victory with the other two matches ending in draws. However, last season, the Limerick side’s record against the Midlanders at the Athlone Town Stadium was not encouraging with a 1-1 draw in April followed by a 2-0 defeat in August.
Speaking to the club’s official media team ahead of the trip to Athlone, Barrett was hopeful his side can earn their first win but recognises the challenge which awaits. “Hopefully we can get some results this week starting with Athlone tomorrow night. It’s going to be tough as they have signed very well and finished last season strongly. They ran Waterford close and beat Finn Harps and Longford so they are obviously a good side. It’s going to be a difficult task but we’re hoping to get our first win up there.”
Treaty United senior women’s side will be looking to earn their first points of the season when they host Athlone Town at the Markets Field on Saturday at 5pm. Alban Hysa has brought in a number of new players including former Irish international Ciara McCormack and Claire Winter. There are also a number of younger players beginning to make inroads into the first team with the likes of Katie Lawlee making a big impression. Treaty lost their opening two games to Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers and the task won’t be made any easier against a talented Athlone side who challenged for last season’s league title until the final day.
On this week’s episode of ‘The Soccer Scene,’ Noel and Adrian discussed the upcoming game in depth along with Treaty’s possible team selection. Adrian predicted a 0-1 Treaty victory in Athlone while Noel predicted a share of the spoils with a 1-1 draw. To watch the full episode, see below.