Goal for Zach Tuohy, Portlaoise against Emo in the SFC final replay at O'Moore Park in 2015. Picture: Alf Harvey/HRPhoto.ie
Portlaoise native and Aussie Rules star Zach Tuohy says he almost gave up on his professional career down under after his home town club won the Leinster Club Championship.
The former Laois Gaelic Football minor has described as 'sickening' how he felt in Australia when The Town won in 2009. He spoke about who he felt in an interview with Australian newspaper The Age. He was speaking in the context of a decision by AFL recruit Conor McKenna to return to Ireland.
In the article, he called on AFL clubs to let their Irish recruits to return home to play. He said he didn't tell his former club Carlton that he played for Portlaoise in the Laois club championships during the AFL season.
He said the closest he came to returning to Ireland was when his club won the provincial championship after defeating Garrycastle of Co Westmeath.
"It was sickening. It's hard to get across how important it is," Tuohy said.
Tuohy, now aged 30, played a critically important cameo role for Portlaoise in 2015 when he scored a goal for Portlaoise in the Laois County Final replay over Emo.
He represented Laois at minor level in 2007 winning a Leinster Final medal and scoring a memorable goal in Croke Park in the same year. He has spoken a number of times during his professional career about returning to Ireland to play for Laois.
Zach said there many reasons why an Irish player may become homesick and sometimes there was little AFL clubs could do to help. In his experience, clubs did as much as they could to help their Irish recruits settle.
The article also listed current Laois and Stradbally player Colm Begley, as one of several Irish-born players have returned home without realising their full potential.
The Portlaoise man is one of 17 Irishmen playing in the AFL.
Tuohy represented Ireland in International compromise rules football between Ireland and Australia in the 2011 and 2013 series
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