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Watch: Magical moment as son-of-Derry-legend Tohill is awarded AFL debut for Collingwood

Anton Tohill fought tears as he was called up by Magpies coach Robert Harvey, who later recalled playing against Tohill’s legendary father in Croke Park.

Tohill is congratulated by his Collingwood team-mates.
Tohill is congratulated by his Collingwood team-mates.

Updated Jul 21st 2021, 5:03 PM

ANTON TOHILL, SON of Derry Gaelic football legend and 1993 All-Ireland winner Anthony Tohill, will make his AFL debut for Collingwood this weekend.

Tohill, 21, was informed of his debut by ‘Pies coach Robert Harvey — who once played against Anthony Tohill in an International Rules game at Croke Park.

The six-foot-five swingman will play in defence this Friday against Port Adelaide, and Collingwood captured the moment Tohill learned of his AFL debut on video, along with the first-team call-up of his team-mate Jack Ginnivan.

Tohill struggled to hold back tears as the announcement of his inclusion was rapturously celebrated by the squad. He also shared a moment with Cork man Mark Keane, who has already represented Collingwood in the big league.

“I was lucky enough to play against his father. He was captain of the Irish team in 1998,” coach Harvey said of Anthony Tohill, who also spent time on Melbourne’s books in the early ’90s before breaking his leg and returning home.

I just know he was fast. It was at Croke Park. He was running away from us pretty easily. I know he had speed. I was lucky enough to have a beer with him after. It (handing an AFL debut to his son) is one of those moments I suppose you get where [you realise] the world is small.

“It was a great moment to see his reaction to that, and the players’ heartfelt feeling for him, because they know how hard he’s worked for this, and how much he’s sacrificed to be here with us.

“He’s after a long journey from Ireland and he has worked really, really hard at his game. He is a 200cm supreme athlete with the ability to run and jump. He is worked hard on aerial craft and can play up forward as well as down back.

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“He was really emotional and he was delighted to get this opportunity. He has obviously come so far, as has Mark Keane who has also played a few games for us already, and they have got such respect around the playing group.

“He’s a very smart individual. He’s a medical student in waiting when he gets back to Ireland.

The respect he’s earned from us internally has been enormous. We’re rapt for him.

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