“Another coach told me to make sure I felt the experience and during the match I took time to look behind me and there were a lot of guys who travel every week to watch us. It was brilliant, they even brought their drums with them.
“It’s been similar with the players. A few weeks ago I decided that rather than telling them to take things one game at a time and play it down, instead we should embrace these matches.
“I told the players to use the two games before the cup final as auditions and we’ve said the same for this FFA Cup match. Since that we have had five games, won four, drawn one and scored 18 goals.”
Key to Armadale’s hopes will be striker Chris Jackson. The NPL WA’s top scorer with 22 goals, the English import has already shown his value on the big occasion by scoring both goals in the Belt Up Cup Final.
“He has been a diamond for us,” O’Reilly said. “He is very well rounded. He scored a couple of free-kicks, a few headers, some from distance … all types of goals.
“We have been supporting him very well too but he has definitely given us an edge up front.”
With a trophy in the bag, an FFA Cup run to celebrate and league safety secured – “we’ve got 32 points, the most we have ever had in the NPL” – it has already been a season to remember for O’Reilly.
But he wants this to be just the start.
“We want to build on this. Next season the target is the top four. We want to go the extra yard in our domestic league,” O’Reilly said.
“But would I swap it for what we’ve done this season? Not at all!”
Wednesday, August 1 (5.30pm WST) FFA Cup Round of 32 Cairns FC v Armadale (Barlow Park, Cairns) *Fox Sports will live stream the match