hHome Find a Club
Chris Jackson celebrates the first of his two goals in the Belt Up Cup Final. Armadale coach John O'Reilly says the English import has been "a diamond". Photo by FotoEnzo/Football West

Armadale to embrace ‘biggest game’

Football West News

John O’Reilly has described Armadale’s FFA Cup clash away to Cairns FC on Wednesday as the club’s biggest game ever – and called on his players to enjoy every moment.

The National Premier Leagues WA side go into the Round of 32 tie still on a high after lifting the Belt Up State Cup for the first time in their history.

The jubilant Army fans celebrated long and hard at Dorrien Gardens following the 2-0 cup final win over Gwelup Croatia and O’Reilly wants to give them more days to remember.

“This has to be the biggest game the club has been in,” O’Reilly said.

“They had promotion 14 years ago from Division One and since then Armadale have been a mid-table or lower-table team.

“Obviously winning the cup the other week was a big achievement and this is one step further.

“I don’t think we will end up with medals for this one but we will have a fantastic experience.”

Around 50 supporters were set to fly from WA to Queensland on Tuesday, all of whom helped make the Belt Up Cup Final win so special for O’Reilly and his players.

“It was such a great day,” he said.

“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