Treaty United travel to Mounthawk Park in Tralee tonight to take on League of Ireland newcomers Kerry FC for the very first time (Kick-off 7.45). The arrival of Kerry FC brings another Munster derby which is a welcome addition to the second tier.
Both sides are looking for their first points of the season with Treaty yet to register a goal following narrow 1-0 defeats to both Bray Wanderers and Galway United in the opening two rounds. At a packed Mounthawk Park on the opening night, Kerry were defeated 0-2 by Cobh Ramblers and were on the end of a 3-1 reverse at the Carlisle Grounds against Bray last week with Leo Gaxha writing his name into Kerry FC folklore, netting the club’s first ever competitive goal in the League of Ireland.
Kerry FC are managed by former Limerick FC player Billy Dennehy who spent the 2018 season on Shannonside playing under current Treaty United manager Tommy Barrett. Matt Keane will captain the home side tonight having spent the previous two seasons with Treaty as they reached the play-offs.
The Tralee venue is sold out once again tonight for the first meeting of these two teams and it promises to be a great occasion. As previously alluded to, the Limerick side will be desperate to get off the mark on Friday and will be favourites to come away with the victory.
Below, you can see a detailed look at Treaty’s opposition this week as Adrian Finnin listed Kerry’s current squad and key players.
Tommy Barrett’s side were left frustrated on the opening two evenings and attacking players such as last season’s top scorer and player of the year nominee Enda Curran cut frustrated figures in Galway. In terms of personnel changes, former Cork City midfielder Alec Byrne could make his first start for Treaty after coming on as a late substitute last week.
During this week’s soccer scene podcast which is available below, Noel and I discussed the possibility of playing two strikers on Friday. Dean George partnering Enda Curran up front is one option while Noel believes that George could also play in the ‘number ten’ position to support Curran who has looked isolated in the opening two weeks. It is likely that the goalkeeper and four defenders will remain while Mark Walsh will be given the responsibility of marshalling former Cobh man Kerry playmaker Sean McGrath.
Barrett has given glowing praise to Walsh’s fellow midfielder Lee Devitt in pre-season and considering what is at stake even at this early stage at an away venue, it is unlikely that Barrett will select a 4-4-2 formation. Moving Conor Barry in from the wing and playing him as an attacking midfielder is another option available to the management team.
Mounthawk Park is an astroturf facility and Treaty have had mixed results on the surface in 2022. Two of the teams poorer performances in the league came on astroturf when they drew 1-1 with Athlone in April and lost to the same opposition in August. However, Treaty also beat Maynooth on the surface and narrowly lost 2-1 to Premier Division title contenders Derry City in the FAI Cup.
Treaty could look to exploit the lack of pace at the centre of the Kerry defence with both former Limerick FC man Shane Guthrie and former Cork City player Kalen Spillane selected for the opening two games. Furthermore, Treaty will be well aware that Kerry conceded two goals from set-pieces last week and that appears to be another weakness but the Limerick side were also disappointed with the manner in which they conceded from a corner last week which has rarely happened in the last 2 years.
To view this week’s podcast where Noel and I were joined by Sports Editor for the Killarney Advertiser Adam Moynihan to discuss a variety of topics surrounding the game, see below.