Former Portlaoise and Laois footballer Zach Tuohy took a significant step forward in his AFL career over the weekend as he made his full debut for the Carlton in their landslide 62 point victory over Port Adelaide on Sunday.
Tuohy was on the bench for the start of the the game but made his long awaited first appearance in the third quarter, when coming in as a substitute. He made a nervy start to the game, with his first attempt to bounce the oval ball seeing it squirt from his possession, but that, thankfully, proved to be a side note in the end as he settled into the game well, showing plenty of promise in his time on the field. He also made a bit of history to boot, becoming the first Irish-born player to feature for Carlton in 109 years. (Setanta O’hAilpín was born in Sydney).
Speaking after the game, Tuohy admitted he was delighted to finally get out on the field and experience life in the AFL. “It’s been a while coming, and coming from a different background you can never be sure you will make the grade, so even to get one game is a great achievement, but I’ll be looking to push on from here and play another handful of games this year.”
He had to wait for his chance to make his appearance though, not alone in the two years he has spent at Carlton, but also in terms of the game, as he didn’t feature until the third quarter. He had been battling nerves up to that point, and he admitted afterwards that he had been trying to remain on an even keel during the game.
“I was just taking it all in for the first three quarters, getting myself ready and relaxed, not to be too nervous when I came on. I’m happy with the way it went, I made a few little mistakes but I’m happy with the way it went.”
While his initial introduction saw that bounce go awry, but the Portlaoise man shrugged it off, and maintained he wouldn’t let it change how he approaches the game. “It just came back at me a million miles an hour, but it happens, it’s not always going to go your way but I’ll still always look to take that bounce and use my legs, but it was a great experience and I’ll look to push on from it.”
Carlton currently sit in fourth position in the AFL table, and will play the Brisbane Lions this weekend, with the Portlaoise man hoping to build on his first appearance with another call up on Sunday.
Tuohy joined Carlton through the 2010 draft, where he was selected as the 73rd choice by the Blues. He is the first Irish born player to feature for the club since Fred Scott 110 years ago.