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Injury means Tuohy’s landmark 200th appearance is delayed as Geelong produce lovely tribute video

Zach Tuohy

Zach Tuohy will have to wait another week at least to make his landmark 200th AFL appearance but his club Geelong have produced an emotional tribute video with well wishes from his team-mates and his family members in both Ireland and Australia.

Tuohy recently became the second most capped Irish player when he passed Tadhg Kennelly’s 197 appearances.

But while that was a big deal in Ireland, to play 200 times is a huge deal in Australia, something achieved by less than 5% of professional players there.

“A fantastic achievement to do 200 games,” said his team-mate Lachie Henderson, who has played with Tuohy in both Carlton and Geelong.

“To be able to do ten years of it with you – it’s been a long ten years with a few ups and downs but we couldn’t be at a better club.

“You’ve proven coming over from Ireland, you’ve done it the hard way. You’ve proven yourself not only to be a great AFL player and a great Irish player but you’ll go down as one of the greats.”

“You’re an amazing team-mate, an amazing person and a great friend,” added another team-mate Tom Stewart.

“You’ll hate that this is all about you but I really think you should be proud of what you’ve achieved and really soak it up.”

“You’ve been an inspiration for us (Irish players) all along the journey and long may it continue,” said Kerry man Mark O’Connor, who is also now with Geelong. O’Connor also wrote a tribute piece to Tuohy on Geelong’s official website.

The tribute video, which included stunnig highlights like marks, goals and tackles – many in the pre-Covid world to a backdrop of full stadiums – also had an early interview with Tuohy when he said “ultimately trying to make a career … that’s what the goal is”.

And the video also had words of congratulations from his parents Noel and Marie from their home in Portlaoise.

A separate video from his brother Noel also congratulated Zach in a brilliantly light-hearted way.

“I want to say congratulations on reaching your 200th game in AFL,” said Marie.

“You may remember when you were leaving home first my wish for you was to run through a banner just one time. I could never have thought that your career would have gone as far as it has. You’ve made us so proud. ”

“I think for an Irish footballer to be mentioned in the same breath as two legends like Jim Stynes and Tadhg Kennelly is a great honour not just for you but for your family,” added his father Noel.

“Zach has been lucky in many things since he went to Australia not only with Geelong but with meeting his partner Rebecca.

“She’s a wonderful girl and his two sons Flynn and Rafferty. We can’t wait to get them home.

“Look after yourself and we’re all very proud of you. God bless.”

“Congratulations on your 200 games,” said his son Flynn. “We miss you and love you.”

With restrictions in Melbourne where most of the AFL teams are based, the teams have been moved out of the state so the games can continue. It means that Zach has been away from his young family for the best part of two months.

“Congratulations Zach,” said his fiance Rebecca.

“We are so, so proud of you and all the sacrifices you’ve made throughout your career.

“We wish we were there to celebrate this massive achievement of 200 games. We love and miss you so much and can’t wait to see you. Go Cats!”

Despite Tuohy’s absence, Geelong recorded a massive win over Essendon in the Gabba stadium in Brisbane.

The result keeps them in second place in the ‘ladder’ and on course for a guaranteed second chance if needed in the playoffs.

They have just two regular season games remaining – against a Richmond side that are still in contention and against a struggling Sydney Swans outfit.

The AFL season has been slightly shortened this season due to the restrictions but remains on course to be completed by October 24, about a month later than usual.

Geelong ended a 43-year wait in 2007 when they won their first AFL ‘Premier’ since 1963 and went on to win further finals in 2009 and 2011 – but haven’t been to a Grand Final since.

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. From Laois, Steven studied Journalism in DCU and has 14 years experience in the media, almost 10 of those in an editorial role. Husband of Emily, father of William and Lillian, he's happiest when he's telling stories or kicking a point.