Preston North End midfielder joins Irish club Waterford on loan


The 19-year-old’s loan deal runs until June 30, with the League of Ireland’s season slated to begin in March.

It is the fourth time O’Reilly has been on loan, having previously worked at Hyde United, Stalybridge Celtic and Bamber Bridge.

His early season time at Bamber Bridge was cut short when non-league football at that level was halted by the November lockdown.

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O’Reilly needs first-team football as his chances were very limited in the North End.

He made his debut in December 2018 as a replacement for Aston Villa at Deepdale – Ethan Walker made his bow at the same time.

O’Reilly has sat on the bench 10 times this season but has been an unused substitute in all of those games.

Cork-born North End signed O’Reilly from Ringmahon Rangers – Alan Browne’s former club – in December 2016.

Preston North Ends midfielder Adam O’Reilly is on loan to Waterford until June

O’Reilly becomes the second PNE player on loan to Irish football, with Jack Baxter joining Cork in January.

Like Baxter, he needs first-team football to develop his game.

With a crowded midfield at Deepdale, chances of intruding on Alex Neil’s plans are slim right now.

And with the North End not having a reserve or U23 line-up, there is no chance of playing competitive football.

The non-league credit route is actually blocked for the time being. Only the National League currently plays, with football restricted further down the pyramid.

So the League of Ireland offers an alternative that O’Reilly and Baxter can hopefully use to their advantage in the coming months.

O’Reilly’s loan will get him across the water by halfway through the season, with the flexibility to extend it beyond the summer.

Waterford is managed by former Everton winger Kevin Sheedy and the club is owned by Lee Power, who also owns Swindon Town.

In total, Preston has loaned eight players – Jayden Stockley, Josh Harrop, Josh Ginnelly, Josh Earl, David Nugent, Walker, Baxter and now O’Reilly.

Stockley scored his third goal in four games for Charlton in a 1-1 draw at Fleetwood on Saturday.

Left-back Earl played the full 90 minutes of Burton’s home defeat by Sunderland, while Harrop came on in the 74th minute in Ipswich’s 0-0 draw with Oxford.

Nugent made his debut for Tranmere as a replacement in the 2-2 draw with Oldham at the weekend.

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