Treaty United welcome Premier Division outfit UCD to the Markets Field on Friday night to contest the Extra.ie FAI Cup quarter final. The home side will be hoping for a big crowd at the Garryowen venue for the senior men’s first ever appearance in the last 8.
Treaty will be relishing the opportunity to reach the semi-final stages and could possibly face the likes of Dundalk, Derry City or Shamrock Rovers in the last four if they can overcome the challenge of the students. The Limerick side come into the game in good form following two home league victories on the bounce against Cobh Ramblers and Bray Wanderers.
Tommy Barrett’s side made it to the last 8 by defeating two Leinster Senior League sides in the previous rounds. A home 5-0 victory over Usher Celtic was followed by a 0-3 away victory against Maynooth University Town.
In another plus heading into the game, Treaty look certain to be involved in this year’s promotion/relegation play-offs after last week’s win. They are now 9 points clear of 6th place Wexford with just four games remaining. UCD are no strangers to the Markets Field and arrive in Limerick following a very impressive victory over Dundalk last weekend. The Students also beat promotion hopefuls Galway United 2-3 at Eamon Deacy Park in the last round.
Treaty welcomed back captain Jack Lynch to the fold last week following a 2-month absence and one of the conundrums facing Barrett this weekend is whether to play Lynch at right-back for the second consecutive week or play Ben O’Riordan who returns following an illness which forced him to miss last week’s game. Outside of that decision, there is also speculation as to whether Barrett will stick with Conor Winn as his “cup” goalkeeper. Winn has played in both previous rounds without conceding but Jack Brady has been the preferred choice for the league campaign.
Sean Guerins, Callum McNamara and Marc Ludden will be expected to complete the back five with Mark Walsh partnered by Lee Devitt in midfield. Steven Christopher had a far greater influence on proceedings last week and provided a goal and assist for his team. The creative midfielder spoke to Adrian Finnin last week and admitted he wasn’t pleased with his performances in recent games but feels his form is returning.
“I’ve probably been a bit disappointed with my performances in the last two months as I haven’t been impacting the game as I know I can. I felt like I was getting back to myself last week and getting the ball in the right areas. I’m happy I got the goal, but I don’t really mind once we are winning games.”
Christopher is eagerly anticipating the game with UCD and hopes the team can do themselves justice on the night.
“It’s a huge game. The chance to get into a cup semi-final doesn’t come around too often. We have to make the most of it and we are on a bit of a run now. We will give it a good rattle and hopefully there will be a big crowd here to cheer us on.”
As mentioned earlier, neither of these sides are strangers with five meetings in the Airtricity League First Division last year including two play-off games. UCD edged the games with 3 victories while Treaty also picked up 2 wins. The games were always very entertaining with 17 goals scored in the five games and the Limerick side accounted 7 of those.
In the play-off series, UCD took a commanding lead into the second leg as they produced an efficient performance to win 0-3. However, symptomatic of the season as a whole, Treaty refused to lie down and went 0-2 ahead in the return leg through goals from Conor Melody and Anto O’Donnell before Christopher was shown a straight red card by Alan Patchell. Adam Verdon put the game beyond a brave Treaty on the night.
The visitors will have plenty of threats in their squad especially with striker Thomas Lonergan bagging 8 goals in 16 games. Treaty will be very familiar with the quality possessed by the likes of midfielders Sean Brennan and Donal Higgins and defenders Evan Osam and Sam Todd after last year’s duels.
When speaking to club media officer Michael Aherne after the game, Tommy Barrett is relishing the underdogs tag ahead of the cup tie.
“We will change nothing. We will train on Monday and Wednesday, and we will have a go off UCD. They are a very good side, and it will be a difficult task for us. We will be the underdogs, but we relish that.”
On the 31st episode of the “Soccer Scene”, Adrian Finnin and Noel O’Connor discussed all things Treaty and previewed tomorrow night’s cup game. To watch this week’s episode, click below.