Ballinhassig's Stephen Christopher made the most of the long trip to Limerick

Stephen Christopher signed for Treaty United and played his part with some superb performances as they made the play-offs
Ballinhassig's Stephen Christopher made the most of the long trip to Limerick

Stephen Christopher, Treaty United, in control of the ball against Cobh Ramblers at the Markets Field.Picture Brendan Gleeson

HE may only be 25 years of age, but he seems to be around a long time, achieving a lot of success and he has continued to impress in his first season with Treaty United.

Stephen Christopher signed for Treaty mid-season and he played his role in some superb performances making the play-offs.

The Ballinhassig man signed from Galway and although the commute from Cork to Limerick has proven difficult at times, he has thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“I have loved it at Treaty since I signed in July,” said Christopher.

“I moved club to Treaty in the summer transfer window in July. I had spoken to Tommy Barrett and a few of the lads who I would know that we’re playing there and they only had positive things to say about the group and what was going on.

“The fact the team was doing well also played a role in my decision but I think the biggest factor was how keen Tommy was to bring me down to the club.

“I didn’t have a great first half of the season up in Galway by all accounts. I felt I wasn’t given a fair crack of the whip so I was really keen to get out and get back playing and enjoying it again and I’m really glad I made the decision to go to Treaty.”

The Midfielder joined Galway United in July 2019 and made his debut in August, against Drogheda. He had moved from Cobh Ramblers, where he made over 100 appearances over a five-year period, helping the club reach the EA Sports Cup final in 2018 and a second place league finish in the First Division in 2017.

In his two-year spell at Galway, Christopher appeared 27 times, scoring three goals but feeling like he didn’t get enough game time this season, he felt the decision to leave was the correct one and he certainly doesn’t regret it.

“Since I’ve gone to Treaty I’ve got back playing week in week out and I think that’s the main thing if you want to be enjoying it and as a group we’ve had a successful season by making it into the playoffs.

“Unfortunately the result didn’t go our way against UCD but we certainly had a good go at it and you couldn’t have asked for any more from the lads.

“Their attitude was brilliant all season and I loved being part of it. Three nil down against UCD from the first leg wasn’t ideal and we were obviously up against it as we gave ourselves a mountain to climb.

“I don’t think the first game was a 3-0 game, there wasn’t much between the two sides but they picked us off late on in the game. The second leg was another close contest where we took a two-goal lead however it wasn’t to be but again I couldn’t fault the squad for such a huge effort.

“It was a great season.

It might have suited me more playing with a Cork team but like I said it only took one phone call with Tommy to see how willing he was to try and help me get back playing and enjoying my football again and that went a long way in my decision.

“There’s a group of four of us who travel up and down to Limerick from Cork mostly twice a week.

“It’s obviously not an ideal situation travelling so far before training but it certainly helped that we were having a successful season. It made things a lot easier and more enjoyable.”

ATTACK-MINDED

Christopher brought an attacking edge to the Treaty midfield with his close-control dribbling and set-piece expertise.

These traits have been prominent with him since an early age and for him it’s all about the players and managers he has played with over the years that has made him the player he is today.

“I joined College Corinthians at a young age and we had a very successful team underage where we won the league and cup double six years in a row with the majority of the team moving on to play League of Ireland at U19 level.

“I then joined Cobh Ramblers and played a year U19s before progressing onto the senior team and playing with the senior team for four and half seasons.

“We had some good years with Cobh reaching the play-offs and finishing second in the league to Waterford which unfortunately was the year they decided to scrap the play-offs.

“We also reached the EA Sports Cup final against Derry which was a great occasion to play in and will always stick with me.

“I’ve been lucky enough to play with some great players over the years.

“Likewise I’ve been lucky enough to play under some great managers, all of whom have played a massive role in my career to date.

“Would be hard to pick out one single great player I’ve played with a lot of great players but if I was to say one I would say Shane Duggan who I played with at Galway. It’s hard to pick out a single manager that has influenced me over the years.

“I think each manager has helped me in different ways. Stephen Henderson was great with me and he gave me my opportunity with Ramblers’ first team so I’ll always be grateful to him for that and I learned a lot from him.”

So what’s up next for Christopher?

“It was great to be playing week in week out and I am gutted to see the season come to an end so soon if I’m honest.

“Now it’s just time to recharge the batteries, have a bit of a break and who knows what next year holds for any of us.”

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