Treaty United will return to Airtricity League First Division action on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Bishopsgate to take on Longford Town with an earlier kick-off time of 4pm due to the Ireland Nations League game in Scotland later that evening.
Treaty will be hoping to all but secure their place in the 2022 promotion/relegation play-off series with a victory over Longford which will put them 12 points ahead of Wexford FC in 6th place. Wexford still have four games to go including one against Treaty on the final day of the season at the Markets Field, but Ian Ryan’s side would have to win every game including ties with Cork and Galway and the Limerick side would have to lose every game which seems unlikely. This weekend is very important for Treaty as any slip up will give renewed hope to their rivals.
Tommy Barrett’s side come into the game in great form following three home wins on the bounce defeating Cobh 1-0, Bray 2-1 and brilliantly beating UCD 4-1 in the FAI Cup quarter-final at the Markets Field. Their reward for the win is a daunting trip to the Brandywell to face Derry City on Sunday, October 16th with a 2pm kick-off.
Barrett’s side remain unbeaten against Longford this season without conceding a goal. The first two meetings ended in scoreless draws, but Treaty were 3-0 victors in the last outing at the Markets Field with Marc Ludden and an Enda Curran brace giving them all three points.
Curran’s goal scoring exploits have been well documented in recent weeks with the forward scoring 16 goals in 23 appearances in all competitions including an impressive hattrick last week against UCD. With Dean George scoring 12 goals this season, it is an area which Barrett has improved greatly from 2021. There is also still a slight chance that Treaty can leapfrog Longford between now and the end of the season. There is currently four points separating the sides although Gary Cronin’s outfit do have a game in hand.
One of senior soccer’s greatest nights in recent years occurred at Bishopsgate when Limerick FC sealed a return to the premier division as league winners under Pat Scully following a 19-year stint in the second tier. Although this week doesn’t have quite the same significance, Treaty all but securing a play-off place for the second time in two years would be a huge achievement for the squad.
In terms of team selection, it is likely that Jack Brady will come back into the team for Conor Winn. Brady has been selected for all league games whereas Winn has featured in all three FAI Cup games. Unfortunately, Jack Lynch suffered a recurrence of an injury which kept him out for 2 months after playing 75 minutes against Bray Wanderers and was unavailable for selection against UCD. If he returns for this weekend, it will be an interesting headache for Barrett who may stick with Ben O’Riordan at right-back on this occasion.
Once more, the other nine players are likely to remain in the starting line-up considering the recent form of the team. Callum McNamara has now been fully converted to a centre-back with Mark Walsh partnering Lee Devitt in midfield. Willie Armshaw has certainly made the right wing position his own in recent weeks and gave Evan Osam a torrid time last weekend. Armshaw had to bide his time for a starting place and plans on making the most of it.
“I have been patient for the last year and a half. When I got my chance, I said I’d better take it. I’m doing my best and that’s all I can do. Hopefully I can stay in the team, and we can keep getting results. We are a confidence team and we are on a good run of form.”
Tommy Barrett and his backroom team are well acquainted with Gary Cronin of Longford who was manager of Bray Wanderers last season and in 2019 when Barrett was managing Limerick FC in the first division. In 10 meetings as managers, Barrett has four wins, Cronin has three wins and there are also three draws between the two.
Since a poor 1-3 home derby loss to Athlone in mid-July, Longford have gone on an impressive run in the league with 4 wins from 5 games and the only draw being against champions elect Cork City at Turners Cross, a game which the Midlanders led for long periods. Jordan Adeyemo has made a big impact at Longford since arriving from Galway United in July, scoring 5 goals in 5 games. With both sides in good form, it promises to be an exciting game on Saturday afternoon.
This week, Adrian Finnin and Noel O’Connor discussed a variety of topics including the UCD win and previewing the Longford Town clash. To watch the full ‘Soccer Scene’ podcast, see below.