Zach Tuohy has revealed the important of getting through ‘tough times’ in his life played in his AFL triumph with the Geelong Cats.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, Portlaoise couldn’t have been prouder as the Laois made history in his 250th AFL appearance in the Grand Final, with Geelong demolishing the Sydney Swans on a scoreline 133-52.
In the process, Tuohy and teammate Mark O’Connor made history as the first Irish players to win the biggest prize in Australian sport since Tadhg Kennelly in 2005.
— AFL (@AFL) September 24, 2022
They join Kennelly as the only Irish players to lift the AFL title.
This will be particularly satisfying for Tuohy, who has been playing in Australia since 2011, signing with Carlton in 2017.
Zach Tuohy opens up on tough times prior to AFL glory
After suffering heartbreak in the 2020 final, and coming up short in preliminary finals, the Irish duo could have been forgiven for thinking this was never meant to be.
After the final, Zach Tuohy spoke to on the struggles he faced off the pitch, moving to the other side of the world at just 18 with those closest to him in his life.
Every player has tough times, but I think the homesickness is a unique experience for the Irish guys. Although players shift states, you can’t even pick up the phone at all times to call your family in the middle of the night.
Even that alone I think people probably don’t appreciate how hard that can be.
I’m lucky to be in the environment I’m in, but there was a lot of bad days early. We’re in a privileged position, I don’t want anybody’s sympathy, but it is hard, especially when you’re 18 and I’ve never left Ireland by myself, much less come to Australia.
A lot of good people got me to where I am, but it’s tough.
Zach Tuohy showed in the his comments after the game the importance his family and local community mean to him, and wanted to give those who supported him something to celebrate.
I tried FaceTiming in my parents out on the ground and showed them and I couldn’t hear a thing to be honest.
Everyone got up and watched. This is honestly as much for them and particularly my parents.
You want good values and good people around, I’m just so lucky to have the parents I have, honestly.
It was a 5.30AM start I think. Everybody got up, all my mates got up, the extended family got up and it would have been a shame to ruin their good night’s sleep for no reason.
Looking ahead, Tuohy will be set to break the all-time appearance record for Irish players in the AFL, with Jim Stynes 264 appearances in reach.
He has had some career up to this point, but it's certainly far from over.