Preston North End player column: Adam O'Reilly on his gratitude to Trevor Hemmings for bringing him to Deepdale
Not a lot of people know that it was Trevor Hemmings who was the person who gave me the opportunity to come to Preston North End.
I was a young boy playing for a Sunday league club and Mr Hemmings got wind of my name through the many contacts he had over in Ireland.
It all went from there and was the reason I ended up signing for Preston.
So when the news came through on Monday night that he had passed away, I was heartbroken.
He was someone who gave me an opportunity as a young age. Where would I be today if Mr Hemmings hadn’t taken that chance?
I will forever be grateful for the opportunity he gave me and I’d like to get the chance to show that.
I’m told Mr Hemmings was due to come to the training ground on Tuesday, so him passing away on Monday night was a huge shock.
When someone messaged me on Monday night about it I didn’t think it could be true but then the club put out the statement.
The most fitting tribute to Mr Hemmings would be for us to win the game against Derby County on Saturday.
I’ve seen on Twitter fans talking about buying the type of hat he wore to honour him and I think that would be absolutely great.
People have been buying lots of tickets for the game and hopefully it will be an occasion which marks what Mr Hemmings did here at Preston North End.
It will take a long time to get used to him not being around the club but his memory will live on.
It was at Under-16s level that I joined Preston so this is a club where I feel very much at home.
Earlier in the year I had a loan spell back in Ireland with Waterford. That loan benefited me massively.
A lot of people think that because it’s the Irish league, it’s not that great to play in.
But I found it a very good league and great experience, there are some very talented players in it.
When the loan finished in June, I came back here to do pre-season but ended up being out for 10 weeks.
I didn’t know it was possible but I managed to tear a ligament in my big toe.
It actually happened when I played for Waterford but I didn’t realise at the time the extent of the injury.
I was running through on goal in a game and a defender cleaned me out.
Not only was I concussed but my toe caught in the turf and it tore from there.
I’m back fit now and I’ve played three games in the Central League. I’d love the chance to show what I can do at first-team level and I’ll work hard to try and make that happen.
I love being at Preston, this is my second home with having been here for about four years.
I’ve made some great mates and the city relates very much to Ireland because everyone is so friendly and welcoming. I’m quite a shy person but here everyone seems to go out of their way to make you welcome.
Coming in to train with the squad every day is brilliant. Training day in, day out, with the quality of player we have here can only help my game.
We’ve got a big few weeks ahead of us but our focus is only on Derby on Saturday and paying our respects to Mr Hemmings.
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