Zach Tuohy is one of the AFL’s greatest and most successful Gaelic footballers from Ireland to adopt the sport.
Hailing from Portlaoise, a town which is located in the South Midlands in the province of Leinster in Ireland, Zach Tuohy grew up in a country more accustomed to round ball games. The youngest of four children, Tuohy played Gaelic football and was a member of the Portaloise Club in Ireland’s Gaelic football league where he won a Leinster Minor Football Championship. After completing his schooling and following an under-18 Gaelic football semi final, Tuohy received a phone call from then Carlton recruiter and now TLA Head of Cricket, Gerard Sholly about the opportunity to come to Australia and trial with AFL club Carlton. Tuohy’s university studies were put on the backburner and he was soon on a plane to Melbourne. Despite not enjoying his initial two week trial, the lure of a two year contract and an opportunity, and some encouragement from his parents were enough to see Tuohy commit to the Blues ahead of the 2010 season.
Tuohy began his career playing in Carlton’s VFL side where his initial roles consisted of being a tagger and rebound defender. After impressive form, Tuohy was elevated to the club’s senior list, making his AFL debut in Round 11 against Port Adelaide. Consistency saw Tuohy become one of the mainstays of Carlton’s side, fulfilling roles in the half-back line as well half-forward line where he hit the scoreboard using his long-range kick. 2015 was a breakout year for Tuohy finishing third in Carlton’s Best and Fairest count, and being selected by the 2015 AFLCA All Australian side as a small defender. 2016 saw Tuohy pass 100 AFL games, becoming only the fifth Irish player to play AFL to have achieved this. Traded to Geelong at the end of 2016, Tuohy’s consistency has remained. In 2017 Tuohy relished at his new club and was nominated for the All Australian squad of 40. He also represented Ireland in the International Rules Series against Australia, making it his third appearance for the national side, having previously played in 2011 and 2013. Now with over 200 games of experience to his name, Tuohy sits second behind the late Jim Stynes for most AFL games played by an Irishman.
Off the field, Tuohy maintains a strong connection to his native home Portlaoise, where he continues to follow his Gaelic side and has business interests, owning hairdressing salons with his brother-in-law. A passionate Liverpool supporter, Tuohy also enjoys a hit of golf. Media is also an interest for Tuohy, having written columns for the Geelong Advertiser, and co-hosting a podcast called the The Elephant Rope with Cats teammate Lachie Henderson. The Elephant Rope profiles successful people, and how they navigate through life’s tough times.
Tuohy is passionate about and an advocate for mental health awareness.
I’ve landed on my feet, that’s for sure. I’m pretty well settled, my mother hates it every time I say that. I’ve always said I’ll end up back in Ireland, but I’m not sure that’s the case anymore. It’s nice to have the choice!