Mark O'Connor, Conor McKenna and Zach Tuohy will all be in action this weekend. PA
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Kerry, Tyrone and Laois players fly the Irish flag in 2019 AFL finals

Big couple of days for Conor McKenna, Mark O’Connor and Zach Tuohy.

MARK O’CONNOR, ZACH Tuohy and Conor McKenna will provide the key Irish interest in the 2019 AFL Finals which start tomorrow and run until the Grand Final on 28 September.

McKenna is in action tomorrow for Essendon, named at half-back against West Coast Eagles, as they travel to Perth for the opening elimination final. It’s a must-win game for McKenna’s side in order to maintain their interest in the finals with the Tyrone 23-year-old having made 21 appearances so far this season.

O’Connor and Tuohy will be part of the Geelong ranks, they have yet to name their side, for Friday’s clash with Collingwood in the first qualifying final. Geelong, who finished top of the AFL ladder after the conclusion of the regular Premiership season, have a safety net if they lose as they will face a semi-final tie on 13 September. A victory at the MCG will propel the Cats to the preliminary final stage on 20 September.

This year has been a major breakthrough for Kerry’s O’Connor, who has had 20 AFL outings, building on his emergence at the close of the 2018 season. Laois native Tuohy, who turns 30 in December, has lined out 183 times in the AFL after a stint previously with Carlton before joining Geelong. He’s played 15 times this season after battling a knee injury early in the campaign.

Both Tuohy and O’Connor featured for Geelong in the 2018 final series but they bowed out at the opening stages when losing the first elimination final to Melbourne.

There are five other Irish players currently on the books of clubs contesting the 2019 finals but all are still rookies in the opening stages of their careers:

  • James Madden (Dublin – Brisbane Lions)
  • Mark Keane (Cork – Collingwood)
  • Anton Tohill (Derry – Collingwood)
  • Stefan Okunbor (Kerry – Geelong)
  • Callum Brown (Derry – Greater Western Sydney)

Here’s the full list of fixtures for this year’s finals with all four of this weekend’s games live on BT Sport 1.

2019 AFL Finals Fixtures

Thursday 5 September
Elimination Final 1
West Coast Eagles v Essendon, (11.10am Irish time)

Friday 6 September
Qualifying Final 1
Geelong Cats v Collingwood, (10.50am Irish time)

Saturday 7 September
Elimination Final 2
GWS Giants v Western Bulldogs, (6.20am Irish time)

Qualifying Final 2
Brisbane Lions v Richmond, (10.25am Irish time)

Friday 13 September
Semi-final 1
Loser GeelongCats/Collingwood v Winner West Coast/Essendon

Saturday 14 September
Semi-final 2
Loser Brisbane Lions/Richmond v Winner GWS Giants/Western Bulldogs

Friday 20 September
Preliminary final 1
Winner qualifying final 1 v Winner semi-final 1

Saturday 21 September
Preliminary final 2
Winner qualifying final 2 v Winner semi-final 2

Saturday 28 September
2019 AFL Grand final

Murray Kinsella joins Gavan Casey, Ryan Bailey and Sean Farrell with their immediate reaction to Ireland’s 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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