Tuohy and O'Connor are the key Irish figures as 2020 AFL finals begin tomorrow

The Laois and Kerry duo will be in action for Geelong against Port Adelaide in the first qualifying final.

Zach Tuohy and Mark O'Connor will be in action for Geelong against Port Adelaide.
Zach Tuohy and Mark O'Connor will be in action for Geelong against Port Adelaide.
Image: AAP/PA Images

GEELONG DUO MARK O’Connor and Zach Tuohy will provide the main Irish interest in the 2020 AFL finals which begin tomorrow in Adelaide.

The AFL season has been no different to other sporting events with the action impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic as it began in March before being suspended after Round 1 and resuming in mid-June.

Traditionally the finals are held in September with the numbers of regulation games having been reduced in this campaign and paving the way for the final series to commence in a new October slot.

The action begins tomorrow with the first qualifying final and the second qualifying final on Friday morning before the two elimination finals are held on Saturday. That will then determine the semi-finalists and the preliminary finalists before the Grand Final is scheduled for Saturday 24 October at the Gabba in Queensland, the first time the decider will be held outside of Victoria and it will be a night game.

Geelong finished fourth in the AFL ladder and will play the top-ranked side Port Adelaide tomorrow at 10.40am Irish time at the Adelaide Oval. Both Kerry’s O’Connor and Laois native Tuohy have been named to start in centreline and forwards respectively.

This has already been a landmark season for Tuohy in reaching the 200 appearance mark in the AFL after an excellent career with first Carlton and now Geelong. O’Connor has made rapid strides since joining in 2017 with the Dingle native set for his 48th AFL appearance tomorrow.

It’s 15 years since Tadhg Kennelly became the first and only to date Irish man to achieve AFL Premiership glory when he featured for the Sydney Swans in their success. Geelong’s cause is aided by the fact that their top-four finish in the regular season gives them two chances in the finals. 

Victory tomorrow would see them advance to the preliminary final while even in defeat they would have the safety net of participation in the semi-finals.

Three other young Irish players are affiliated to clubs in the finals with Dublin’s James Madden on the books of Brisbane Lions while Cork’s Mark Keane and Derry’s Anton Tohill are with Collingwood. Keane is the only one of the trio to play in the AFL with his debut arriving back in August against Fremantle but he has not been in action since.

Coverage of the weekend action is available for Irish viewers live on BT Sport.

2020 AFL Finals Fixtures

Thursday 1 October

Qualifying Final 1
Port Adelaide v Geelong, (Coverage begins 10.30am Irish time on BT Sport 1).

Gavin Cooney
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Friday 2 October

Qualifying Final 2
Brisbane Lions v Richmond, (Coverage begins 10.30am Irish time on BT Sport 1).

Saturday 3 October

Elimination Final 2
St Kilda v Western Bulldogs, (Coverage begins 7.30am Irish time on BT Sport 3).

Elimination Final 1
West Coast Eagles v Collingwood, (Coverage begins 11am Irish time on BT Sport 3).

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Fintan O'Toole

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