AS they enter the last stretch of the women’s national league campaign, I caught up with Treaty United U17 manager, Cork man Craig Hurley, whose side have had a great season and are in with a chance of qualifying for the league semi-final stages.
Hurley took on the role as Treaty manager this season and although a huge commitment travelling to Limerick four days a week, the father of two has loved the experience and hopes his side can get their reward for all the effort this season.
“It would mean so much to myself and the club if we could qualify for the semi-finals as all of the players and their parents deserve it for the work, effort and commitment they have put in already this season,” said Hurley.
“I really think it would be a shame to not have Treaty United playing in the semi-finals/finals.
“Every game we played so far has been highly entertaining and a brilliant spectacle of football.”
Having qualified out of the group with some fantastic performances, in particular a 6-3 win over last year’s champions Cork City, plus wins over Waterford, Carlow Kilkenny and Wexford, Hurley’s side faced a tough group against Donegal, Peamount and Galway.
However, some good results have kept them in the race and with two games to go, he is confident if his side perform to the best of their ability, they can make the semi-final.
“I am very pleased with the season so far as we have had some unbelievable performances and results.
“We are still unbeaten at home and are one of the highest-scoring teams in the league.”
Enjoying the role as manager, Hurley has really put his own stamp on things at the club and is a huge favourite among players and staff.
“My experience with the club has been incredible. The support the committee has shown me has been second to none, always there willing to help any way they can.
“The parents are all absolutely fantastic and are always on hand to help with anything they can. I feel very lucky that I’m part of it.
“At the start of the season, our aim was to qualify into the elite phase of the competition. We also wanted a good cup run and we set little goals to see how many players we can help get capped internationally and how many players we could develop to have them ready to try to break into the senior team next season.
We also wanted to play brave, attacking football and make our home venue a fortress. We have done well in achieving most of our goals.
“We have 20 players signed. We have two signed from Cork, Heidi O’Sullivan and Alix Mendez.
“I obviously know them well from my time with Cork City and once I got the Treaty job they were quickly identified as key players to get in for our squad.
“We have three girls from Clare, six from Tipperary and nine girls from Limerick which shows girls all around Munster want to come and play for us.
“The majority of the squad were born in 2005 and 2006 which means we won’t have to make too many changes next season.
“The players have gelled so well there’s no cliques whatsoever and they are always in one group.
“Our last two games are a home game against Donegal and an away game to Galway. Two wins will put us through so at least it’s in our own hands.
“Donegal this coming weekend is a cup final as we are currently two points behind them so a loss rules us out, a draw it’s taken out of our hands in the last game, and a win will put us ahead of them with a game to go.
“I’m confident that we can get the win as we are at home. We will get a huge support and I could see the hunger in the girls’ eyes after a draw this weekend.
“We will prepare right and be ready come Saturday, then we will take it one game at a time. We get the result this weekend and all the focus will shift to Galway, last game of the group.”