Treaty United relieved, excited but ready for many more challenges
Tommy Barrett working on assembling a team to face Bray Wanderers on March 26th
Tommy Barrett’s Treaty United play against Bray Wanderers on March 26th. File photograph: Inpho
Treaty United chairman Conn Murray says that news of the club’s acceptance into the league of Ireland’s first division for the coming season was met with “relief and excitement,” on Saturday evening but acknowledges that having come through the application process the club will face many more challenges over the coming months.
The most immediate one is assembling a team to face Bray Wanderers on March 26th and Tommy Barrett has been, he says, working on that since the moment the news was confirmed by the FAI.
“There’s a lot to do and we have a board meeting on Sunday evening to look at all of that but Tommy is assembling a squad right now,” he says. “Obviously it’s a short timeframe but we would have made a lot of preparations on the basis that we might be successful and we are confident that everything needed will be in place.”
Assuming the fixture list issued by the league earlier in the month is not revised, the club’s first home game will be Wexford at the Markets Field on April 2nd and Murray is hoping that the support he says he has received over the course of the past few months translates into backing for the team once the football actually starts.
The intention, he says, is to be competitive but he cautions against expecting too much at this stage of the club’s development.
“Expectations are not high,” he says. “We won’t be going for Europe this year,” he continues with a laugh, “but we would hope to be competitive, to give teams that come here a hard time and for team to show pride in the shirt.
“Whatever support Tommy needs we will look to give him but we’re not in this for the short term and neither is he. The first aim was to re-establish senior soccer back in the mid-west region and the intention now will be to develop it and develop talent from the region over the coming years.”
Treaty’s inclusion comes at the expense of Shamrock Rovers’ development team which finished eighth in the table last season. The club received the licence required to participate again but has nevertheless been excluded in favour of the new entity which brings an area with both a rich history of League of Ireland football but also a chequered recent past, back into the senior game.
The issue seems to have come to a straight choice between the two clubs after the other candidate, Dublin County, failed to secure a licence, apparently over some concerns connected to their facilities. Given that, a 12 team division was impossible and there was a reluctance to have one side idle in each round of fixtures.
The switch will please other clubs and disappoint Rovers which believed the second tier team had the potential to play a major part in its youth development structures. The club is expected to react formally to the news over the next 24 hours but it is not clear what, if any action is realistically open to it and it may simply have to accept the setback for the moment.