LEAGUE Of Ireland is back in Limerick this season after Treaty United got the green light to compete in the First Division.
There is a Cork presence among the new recruits in the Treaty squad, including Anthony O’Donnell who joins from Munster Senior League side Ringmahon Rangers.
We speak the day after Treaty played their first senior men’s game, which was a 1-1 draw against Premier Division opposition in Waterford.
O’Donnell started for Treaty, with the goal for the Limerick side coming from a former Cork City man Joel Coustrain.
O'Donnell was in the League Of Ireland in the past with Cobh Ramblers, during which time he was a part of Stephen Henderson’s Cobh side that made the promotion play-offs in 2016.
But now all the focus for him will be on all things Treaty, as those in the area hope this will be the start of a bright new chapter for League Of Ireland football in Limerick.
“It is great to get back into the League Of Ireland,” O’Donnell tells The Echo.
“After speaking to Tommy Barrett on a number of occasions and listening to his plan for the season, it was a no-brainer for me to get involved and help the club get back to the highest level of football in Ireland, where it belongs.
“I worked with Tommy before, he was my manager when I was with Limerick a couple of years ago. I know what he is about and the way he plays. So everything suited me down to the ground.
“Once Tommy rang me and I had a chat with him about the club and the way things are going forward, it was a no-brainer for me to go back there.
“Credit where credit is due to Tommy, his staff and everyone involved in Treaty United for putting together a very strong side, with a mixture of experience and youth, with such short notice.
“Everyone involved in the club is buzzing for the 26th of March for the first game of the season. Myself and the lads will be raring to go and ready for the challenge ahead.”
O’Donnell was a key player for Ringmahon and one of the top performers in the Munster Senior League over recent years.
His whole-hearted performances and many years of service to the club mean he is a figure that will always be welcomed at Ringmahon Park.
“I was lucky enough to play in an FAI Intermediate Cup semi-final with the club, fighting for league titles over the past few seasons and to represent the club with the Munster Senior League squad on a few occasions. All the hard work behind the scenes is paying off for such a great club.”
Among those also in the Treaty squad, this term will be former Cork City and Cobh man Charlie Fleming, former City keeper Tadgh Ryan and ex-UCC attacker Matthew McKevitt. Joel Coustrain is signed up as well, who has a spell with City in 2019.
Treaty United will commence their First Division season away to Bray Wanderers on March 26, before playing their first home match of the season, at Market’s Field, a week later against Wexford.
O’Donnell will face Leeside opposition early into the season, as Treaty play host to Cobh Ramblers on April 9 and Cork City on April 23 at Markets Field.
As for what Treaty will be targeting in the 2021 First Division campaign, O’Donnell outlines: “We will take every game as it comes really. There is a lot of experience there and some good younger lads as well.
“I reckon the main aim for the club this year is to be very competitive. With the friendly game against Waterford, we played a Premier Division side and we were well able to compete.
“And that is only four or five training sessions into it. It is just about lads getting to know each other and comfortable playing with each other. But looking at how we did in the Waterford game after four sessions in, you’d be delighted with it definitely.”
O’Donnell’s football career now brings him back to where it all started. He will hope to play his part in the revival of League Of Ireland football in Limerick during his spell with Treaty United.