Limerick’s Treaty United to apply to play in League of Ireland First Division

Project aimed at bringing sustainable football back to the city and Markets Field

The Limerick-based group behind Treaty United have confirmed that they will pursue a license to play in the First Division of the League of Ireland next season despite the difficulties encountered by successive senior football clubs in the city in recent times.

Conn Murray, the former CEO of Limerick City and County Council, who chairs the group, says that the club will, initially at least, be an amateur operation established with the aim of "developing young talent from the mid west region and providing players with a pathway to playing the game at a higher level".

He insists that the board assembled to oversee the launch of the project, which includes Dave Mahedy, the former Limerick United player and coach who went on to play many parts in the development of the city's sporting infrastructure, is well aware of the challenges involved but is hopeful that it can come up with a model that is sustainable.

“There is no profit motive here for anyone,” he says. “This is about bringing League of Ireland football back to the city and getting to the point where it can sustain itself. We believe we can give that a go, we are confident that we can try but we are certainly not naive about the challenges involved.”


The intention would be to play at the Markets Field and enter teams at all levels of the underage national leagues. The club has the support of the Limerick Enterprise Development Partnership, which controls access to the stadium.

The situation is complicated by the continuing presence on the scene of Pat O’Sullivan, the owner of Limerick FC which was effectively denied a license for the season just ending after running into severe financial difficulties.

After various challenges to the FAI, O’Sullivan’s club still runs some underage sides and he has previously suggested that he would apply for a license to re-enter the league. The FAI seems likely to prefer to the new entity which is effectively prevented from using Limerick in its title due to the registration by O’Sullivan of various possible titles.

The wider issues will be the league’s preference for keeping numbers even and the desire of Shamrock Rovers to maintain its second team in the first division for the coming year.

Resistance to the Rovers’ project among other clubs was eventually overcome at the start of the year through assurances that the situation would be reviewed after the campaign was concluded. The team came 8th with 15 points and it is understood that the other clubs would still prefer it to be replaced but with the parent club looking solid financially the league may be reluctant to reject its application.

There has also been talk of an application from a second club in Wexford which would open up the prospect of a 12 team division but there would be obvious questions to be answered about the long term viability of any such project.

Murray, meanwhile, believes that the tradition of senior football in Limerick and its potential, goes some way towards making Treaty United’s case for it. “I think that as a ‘League of Ireland’ they need to take a regional view and as one of the country’s five major cities I would be disappointed if the FAI denied Limerick, with all of its football heritage, the opportunity to have a team in the league.”

The club will register its initial application on Tuesday with a decision by the league expected over the next month or so.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times