Saturday was a landmark day for Adam O’Reilly as the 17-year-old from Mahon in Cork city made his Preston debut in the 1-1 draw against Aston Villa.
O’Reilly, a member of the Republic of Ireland U17 squad who reached the European Championship quarter-finals earlier this year, replaced fellow Irish man Graham Burke and later took to social media to express his delight.
“Over the moon to make my Preston North End debut tonight, just want to thank everyone who has helped me to get to where I am today and hopefully more to come,” he wrote on his Instagram page.
Preston have been blighted by injuries of late, Alan Browne joining an absentee list that includes Ireland team-mates Sean Maguire and Callum Robinson. As a consequence, O’Reilly was one of a number of young starlets in the squad: “It’s difficult for me to stand here and be anything other than proud of my team and that goes for the lads who started and the kids that came on,” manager Alex Neil said. “They train every day, work hard, and we wanted them to see that last five minutes out for us and they did.”
Elsewhere in the Championship, a goal from David McGoldrick helped Sheffield United to a 3-0 win over Blackburn but it wasn’t such a happy end to 2018 for Richie Towell, the 27-year-old was received a straight red card for a late tackle in Rotherham’s 1-0 defeat at Bristol City.
In League One, Eoin Doyle was among the scorers as Bradford won 4-0 at Rochdale. James Collins sparked a Luton fightback when scoring in the 2-2 draw Walsall while Padden Madden netted in Fleetwood’s 5-2 defeat to Portsmouth and Callum Reilly grabbed a late consolation goal in Gillingham’s 3-1 home defeat to Doncaster Rovers.