HE has returned from injury and is raring to go again as pre-season kicks off for Anto O’Donnell and his League of Ireland side Treaty United.
O’Donnell underwent surgery on his groin just over 12 months ago and while it was tough being out of action, the Carrigaline man has recovered well. He got game time under his belt at MSL level with his previous club Ringmahon and now he is ready to return to a level he thoroughly enjoys playing at.
“It feels fantastic to be back pre-season training with Treaty United in the League Of Ireland and I’m looking forward to the games coming up,” said O’Donnell.
“It’s never nice for a player to be out injured and of course when your injury requires surgery it’s concerning but that lay-off gives you the time to think how lucky we are to be able to get back playing at this level.”
The talented defender had an excellent spell with Treaty prior to his injury, scoring the club’s first-ever goal at League of Ireland level. He now hopes he and his side can push on for the coming season.
“My previous year at Treaty United was their first year in the League of Ireland. We had a great year reaching the FAI Cup quarter-final, beaten in extra time by Dundalk and also reaching the promotion play-offs. For a side put together so quickly by the manager Tommy Barrett we seemed to pull together and gel quite quickly. There was a great spirit among the group.
“Personally having the honour of scoring the first goal for the football club in the League of Ireland in the first home game of the season and to receive the first Player of the Month award from the fans was special. I also managed to help the side by scoring five time during the season. We took pride in keeping things tight at the back and if the opportunity came at the other end from a set piece or open play you would hope we could score.”
While some may have expected O’Donnell to return sooner than now, he feels he made the right decision to play local level and now with a Munster Cup tie to look forward to against his former side Ringmahon, it’s a busy schedule ahead.
“I had it in the back of my mind to return earlier in the year to Treaty but it was always going to be depending on my work situation.
“My employer Martin Scaffolding Ltd has always been supportive and accommodating which I very much appreciate but Tommy was in contact as the June transfer window approached but to go back then was just too soon for me so I focused on getting my fitness back.
“In August I went back to Ringmahon Rangers in the MSL. I have always enjoyed my time with Ringmahon, a great club that I have been with since schoolboys. I had indicated to the manager Aidan Foley that I would possibly return to the League of Ireland.
We have a great understanding. I was approached by a number of clubs but I felt that I had unfinished Business at Treaty United and I cannot wait to get started.
“With regards to the Munster Senior Cup draw against Ringmahon, I look forward to it.
“It’s a competition I suppose most clubs use to give players the opportunity to get game time and improve fitness in pre-season but it will be up to Tommy whether or not he’ll play the strongest team for that fixture.
“We have a number of games arranged before that cup game and also quite a few games close to that fixture so it’s hard to call what to expect for that game but I’m looking forward to it either way.
“Treaty United have signed some good new players and have kept some super players so I guess the settling-in period for all the players will be important but we will take one game at a time that’s all you can do.
“Play the side that’s put in front of you and I hope for the season coming that we can add some more great nights and memories for this Club which the people in Limerick have taken to their hearts.
“I look forward to that feeling again you get before the games on a Friday night at the Markets Field and other grounds around the country in which the fans play such an important role.
“As they say in Treaty the train keeps rolling on.”