ADAM O’Reilly has been making fine strides throughout his time with Preston North End and the last campaign went very impressively.
It was a season which saw the 18-year-old make his Preston debut last December in a home clash against Aston Villa, while he also put pen to paper for his first professional contract with the club.
O’Reilly, who won the club’s scholar of the year accolade for the past two years, will now seek to make a greater impact on the Preston first-team squad over the coming months.
He is a skillful yet combative midfielder capable of playing in both a deeper or more advanced midfield role.
O’Reilly was over on Leeside for the Preston pre-season training camp and featured in the side’s friendly against Cork City at Turners Cross.
“I was happy to get out onto the pitch and trying to make an impact and get a taste of what is to come this year,” said O’Reilly after Preston’s clash against City.
“It is really good and I am looking forward to the season ahead.”
O’Reilly was a key player in the Preston youth team, netting 10 goals during last season.
Now the promising midfielder will be seeking to try and make his mark at Deepdale in the first-team setup.
“I will be working hard to break into the team this year. That is going to be the main goal.
“But before that you have got to perform in pre-season and that is the next goal of getting more minutes and pushing into the season trying to break into the team.”
One man that has made a fine impact with Preston over the past number of years is a fellow Ringmahon Rangers graduate in Alan Browne.
One could argue that Browne has been one of the most consistent midfielders in the English Championship over the past couple of seasons.
O’Reilly would love to join Browne and become a regular fixture in the Preston first team.
It is clear O’Reilly though appreciates the efforts which Browne has gone to in looking out for his fellow former Ringmahon man.
“He has been a massive help. Since I first went over to now, Alan has been helping me throughout my time at Preston.
“I would like to thank him for that because he has looked out for me. So it is great not only to have an Irish lad but a local lad as well only two minutes away from me.”
The prospect of an all Cork midfield in the Ireland senior team including Browne and O’Reilly is something which could very well come to fruition in the coming years.
O’Reilly has been involved with some talented squads at U17s and U19s international level with Ireland in the past few years.
He was apart of the U17 squad, managed by a fellow Corkman in Colin O’Brien, that made it to the quarter-finals of the U17 European Championships in 2018, where they were defeated on penalties by the eventual tournament winners in the Netherlands.
Give the potential that O’Reilly possesses, don’t be surprised to see him in the senior Ireland team in the coming years at all.
“I would love to go into the senior Irish setup, as any kid would. But it starts at club level, performing at club level and then pushing into the international side then.
“As I said, I do what to break into the (Preston) first team and then take the stepping stones from there on.”
Preston manager Alex Neil is someone that regards O’Reilly highly and had him in training with the Preston first team on a regular basis over the past two years.
It is clear O’Reilly thinks highly of the Preston boss, who strikes you as a manager that is not afraid to throw young players into action if they are of the required standard.
“He gave me by debut. If you are performing in training and he trusts you. He is going to put you in as long as you are doing your stuff.
“If he trusts in you, then he will put you in which is very good.”
Preston were challenging for a playoff spot during a good portion of the early months of 2019. Although they fell short at the end of last season, they were not far away in the promotion race.
As for what he feels Preston as a team can collectively achieve this term, O’Reilly feels that the side can be there or thereabouts again over the campaign forthcoming.
“You want to be pushing for playoffs and even to win the league. I am sure that is what any other team would want. With the lads we have in the squad, I don’t see why we can’t. I am sure we can go and do the job this year, if we work hard enough.
“It has been good the last two years and pushing on forward this year now is a massive year now.
“I think we could push on and get playoffs, even win the league like. I don’t see why not.”
Adam O’Reilly is a young man that is certainly going in the right direction. If given the opportunity to showcase his ability on a more frequent basis in the English Championship over the coming months, the Mahon native will be fully keen to make an impact on the Preston first team.