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Irish duo O'Connor and Tuohy celebrate as they reach AFL Grand Final with Geelong

Geelong defeated Brisbane Lions in the second AFL preliminary final today.
Oct 17th 2020, 12:14 PM 10,373 5

THERE WILL BE Irish involvement in the AFL Grand Final for the first time in 14 years after Kerry’s Mark O’Connor and Zach Tuohy from Laois were both part of Geelong’s dominant display to win the second preliminary final today.

Geelong Cats ran out 82-42 winners over Brisbane Lions to set up a final meeting with Richmond Tigers next Saturday.

O’Connor and Tuohy become the first Irish players to reach that stage since Tadhg Kennelly in 2006 while Jim Stynes and Sean Wight previously contested the final in 1988. Kennelly remains the only Irish player to have tasted victory, the Kerry man celebrating with Sydney Swans in 2005.

Tuohy kicked a goal in the final quarter as Geelong stormed to a comfortable win. They were in front 32-27 at the midway mark but pushed on to be ahead 53-35 by the third quarter.

It’s a brilliant achievement by the Irish duo. O’Connor captained Kerry to win the 2015 All-Ireland minor title before announcing his decision to join Geelong in October 2016. Today marked a milestone for the Dingle native as it was his 50th AFL appearance.

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Tuohy made the switch to Australian Rules in late 2009 when he joined Carlton before moving to Geelong in 2016 at the same time as O’Connor. Last month he became the second Irish player after Stynes to reach the 200 appearance mark in the AFL.

Opponents Richmond defeated Port Adelaide in the first preliminary final yesterday and will seek to defend the title they won last year. When the teams met last month, Richmond ran out comfortable 57-31 victors over Geelong.

The final will take place at the Gabba in Brisbane next Saturday, in a move away from the traditional MCG venue due to changes enforced this year by the pandemic, and will start at 9.30am Irish time.

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Fintan O'Toole

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