Portlaoise's Zach Tuohy and Mark O'Connor from Dingle became AFL Premiership champions on Saturday when helping Geelong Cats to an impressive 133-52 Grand Final victory against Sydney Swans at the MCG.
They join Tadhg Kennelly, who won an AFL Premiership medal with Swans in 2005, as the only Irish players to have won a AFL Grand Final. Making his 250th AFL appearance, former Laois minor and U21 star Tuohy reflected on his achievements, saying it was the type of moment that made all the 'tough' days away from home worthwhile.
"Every player has tough times, but I think the homesickness is a unique experience for the Irish guys," the 32-year-old told foxfooty.com.au afterwards.
"Although players shift states, you can’t even pick up the phone at all times to call your family because it’s 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 were a lot of bad days early."
Tuohy is never one to forget his root and had a Portlaoise flag draped around his shoulders as he celebrated with his Geelong teammates.
"I know it (premiership) means a lot to my family especially, even more than me," he continued.
"We talked and it feels a bit like it’s full circle. I’ve got a Portlaoise flag, which is where I started. It hasn’t sunk in."Tweet