For Enda Curran, it is plain and simple, there is just something about the SSE Airtricity League.
At the end of 2020 when Galway United were beaten by Longford Town in a first division promotion play-off, Curran departed the UCD Bowl wondering about the future.
“Since I left Galway I had a couple of options on the table after we got beaten in the play-off final by Longford,” Curran says. “I had a couple of offers, but it just didn't seem right with work and stuff. I decided to step back, that league is just something you can never get away from to be honest with you.”
Between August and Christmas Curran was in good goalscoring form for Mervue United locally netting 14 in 10 league games. During that time, though, Curran was monitored the League of Ireland attentively.
“Even towards the end of last year when the crowds started going back into stadiums, that was really what I missed the most,” he adds. “Seeing a huge crowd in Eamonn Deacy Park for the play-off game, that was something I definitely missed.”
Opting to sign for Treaty United is a commitment and Curran is fully aware about the challenges that will be presented. “Yeah, especially taking into consideration age and how my body is feeling,” he responds.
“I think my first League of Ireland game I was 16 or 17, it seems a long time ago. There are a lot of factors that contribute to what your decision actually is.
“Treaty were a surprise package last year, I watched them several times, Treaty were one of the clubs that asked me to go down at the start of last year. For my own reasons I didn't decide to go ahead with the contract that was on the table.
“The lads that are there, I have been very impressed since I went in regarding the players, the lads I didn't know - the likes of Willie Armshaw, Callum McNamara, all good lads. It does help that there is a lot of lads that you played football with. It nearly makes it easier to go into the dressing room when you do know the lads.”
Ultimately football still captures Curran’s imagination – the possibilities that exist and that is why he eventually accepted Tommy Barrett’s invitation to join Treaty. “To me it is a fine line between junior football and League of Ireland, you look at Bohs, who raided the Leinster Senior League with lads, who have gone on to have good careers - Danny Grant is one of them, he is at Huddersfield,” Curran says.
“The potential is there - it is just whether lads are going to commit to it. Unfortunately at my age, I'm 30 this year, my days for getting across the water are over, but it is the enjoyment from playing at the best standard you possibly can. I missed a couple of years of doing it. Do I regret it? No, not at all, but at the same time I'm very excited to be back. From what I can see Tommy has added to the squad and I don't see any reason why we couldn't build on what they did last year.”
Mervue United’s role in Curran’s story is not forgotten by the striker either. “I can never thank Mervue enough for all they did for me, Mervue gave me a chance at League of Ireland under Tom French when I was only U16 or U17, Brian Laffey with the U21s, even since I've gone back the likes of Robert Connolly all of the lads definitely make it easier to play for a club like that,” he responds.”
Now Curran is ready, willing, and able to make an impact with Treaty. “Looking back at it I have missed it and it is a challenge for me to try to get back to the standard I set when I was playing in the premier with Galway,” he says.
“For whatever years I have left in my career at League of Ireland I just want to give it one good crack. I think if I can get back to that - it is going to be tough - but if I can get back to that it would probably be one of my biggest achievements to come back to get to that level again.”
**Listen to the full interview with Treaty United striker Enda Curran on this week’s ‘Cian on Sport’ podcast available on Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.