2023 Season Review: Treaty United
Team: Treaty United
Head Coach: Tommy Barrett
Top Scorer: Enda Curran (11 goals)
Stadium: Market's Field
Highest Attendance: 1,003 (v Galway United in May)
Lowest Attendance: 445 (v Athlone Town in September)
Star Player: Enda Curran
The 31 year old Galwegian has been the spearhead of the Limerick outfit's attack for the past two seasons, netting 11 league goals in 2023.
25-year-old Dublin attacker Dean George's seven league goals also see the former Athlone Town man form part of this conversation as he played a role in 34 of the 36 league games this season.
Ex-Cobh Wanderer Stephen Christopher was another to only miss out on two league outings in 2023, while featuring for Tommy Barrett's men in a number of positions throughout the campaign.
Lee Devitt went one better and was only absent for a single league game last season.
The midfielder from Newmarket on Fergus has been a central cog in the engine room since his arrival at the Market's Field ahead of the 2022 season and made the First Division Team of the Week twice in 2023, as well as skippering the side on a number of occasions.
Regular armband wearer Marc Ludden, at 33 years of age, is one of the most experienced members of the squad and featured in 75% of the Treaty United matchday squads in the 2023 First Division.
Best Young Player: Darren Nwankwo
18-year-old defender Darren Nwankwo made 19 league appearances for Treaty United in 2023, and coupled with the 14 of Scott Kirkland, the duo were by far and away the most involved of any Academy graduates in the squad.
Others such as Fionn Doherty and Niko Koslowski have dabbled in and around the first team but Nwankwo made a real inroads into the starting lineup, recording 1,000 minutes more than 20 year old Kirkland.
Injuries and suspensions in the backline contributed to the number of appearances for the teenager but when called upon he performed admirably in a season where he also featured regularly for, and skippered, the Under 19 side.
Having made his starting debut against Waterford in April, Nwankwo went on to catch the eye of Republic of Ireland Under 19 management as he featured in a July friendly against an ETB selection, having spent time in preseason training with Blackburn Rovers.
The second person on that Blackburn Rovers trip was exciting teenager Robbie Lynch who debuted in May's defeat to Galway United and made his first start in August against Kerry FC.
His five appearances in total in the defence showed plenty of glimpses of promise from the highly rated 17 year old defender who has already caught the attention of international underage coaches with FAI Schools Interprovincial success as part of the Munster panel last December.
Best New Signing: Adam Lennon
With only four members from their inaugural 2021 League of Ireland season still involved - Ludden, George, Curran and Guerins - Treaty have seen a number of new arrivals in the interim period.
However, the 2022 campaign unearthed a number of cornerstones for the following season with the likes of the experienced Conor Barry, Ben O'Riordan and Mark Walsh signing at the start and Success Edogun making an impact after his midseason arrival.
The loss of inspirational skipper Jack Lynch to emigration at the end of the 2022 season saw a void in the centre of the defence.
However, the returning Anto O'Donnell was seen as the primary beneficiary of the vacancy and 22-year-old former Athlone Town centre half Andy Spain brought in to add depth to the squad.
With 19 league appearances, the Kildare native appeared in over half of Treaty's league games in 2023, however he made only two starts in the last eight games - the emergence of Lynch and Nwankwo and the return of Sean Guerins seeing the former Shamrock Rovers II player spending time on the bench.
Guerins started eight of Treaty's last 11 league games - scoring as a sub against Kerry in another - after coming back to the club in August.
Goalkeeper Corey Chambers could also have a strong case here after the experienced custodian landed from Cork City in the middle of the season and made penalty saves against both Waterford and Wexford while he was unfortunate to have another against Galway United ruled out.
He finished the season as Treaty's number one netminder, starting the final 13 games of the campaign.
However, the nod for this award goes to Adam Lennon.
The 21-year-old arrived on Shannon side in the summer having experienced First Division football with both UCD and Athlone Town.
Primarily a right winger, he made eight starts and scored twice in his 14 appearances for the club, racking up only two defeats whenever he was named as a starter.
What we expected they would do:
Having seen Treaty reach the play offs in the past two seasons, our staff writers thought a third was on the cards as we predicted a fifth place finish.
What they actually did:
A sixth place finish in the First Division saw the Limerickmen fall just outside the play offs as they recorded three less points than Athlone Town who ended up in fifth position.
Having picked up seven points from the opening 27 available, Barrett's outfit were always playing catch-up. Despite ending this run in style, keeping three clean sheets in four consecutive wins, another five game winless streak meant further points dropped.
A couple of three game unbeaten runs and three consecutive wins at the tail end of the season weren't enough to reel in the Midlanders and they had to settle for sixth.
Injuries to various key squad members throughout the season and midseason departures such as Alec Byrne (Cobh Ramblers), Shane Hallahan (Ringmahon Rangers), Colin Kelly and Darren Collins ( Mervue United), Josh Quinlivan (Fairview Rangers) and Martin Coughlan (Kerry FC) all played a part in the lack of consistency throughout the campaign.
What they need to improve on for next year:
As with two of the sides below them in the table, namely Kerry FC and Finn Harps, a fixture between the posts is a necessity for a decent promotion push. In each of their previous seasons, Tadhg Ryan and Jack Brady were consistently named as the starting custodian.
Tommy Barrett settled on Corey Chambers by season end, after seeing Connor Winn (injury) and Shane Hallahan (departure) unavailable.
With reserve keeper Joshua Coady (Aisling Annacotty) also leaving mid-season, having a consistent goalkeeping department would set a solid platform.
With the aforementioned Byrne and Coughlan departing the engine room, an experienced midfielder is a must for 2024. Barrett identified this at the start of 2023 with the arrival of Ryan Connolly.
However, work commitments meant the Mayoman never actually played in the league for the club - hopefully for Treaty next season a similar type player will be in a position to line out. Easier said than done given their budget constraints.