Portlaoise and Laois footballer Zach Tuohy has just 10 weeks left on these shores before his adventure with the AFL begins, after the details of his move to Carlton were confirmed following a recent training camp with the Melbourne outfit.
Tuohy spent four weeks with Carlton recently as the club brought him and Cork’s Ciaran Sheehan down under to give them a taste of what life will be like in their new careers. He is now back in Ireland until late October, at which time he will then move to Melbourne permanently.
Speaking of his recent trip to the club and the career ahead of him, Tuohy admitted he has enjoyed the experience so far, “I really enjoyed the four weeks down there, and I’m going back out in 10 weeks for pre-season. Carlton are opening new facilities this year and they will be one of the best in the AFL, so I’m looking forward to seeing them training there every day.”
He was training almost every day while he was down there, and has so far been impressed with the coaching the club provides, “We were training most days, but I couldn’t train with the first team because only the full players can train with them. We did all the other sessions and the gym work, and the coaches look after the Irish boys to help us get used to the skills, we get a lot of one-on-one coaching sessions.”
It will be the skills training which will be most intensive for Tuohy and Sheehan as they try to adapt to the demands of the new game, and he is expecting to do a lot of work on that end of things when he goes back out, “I think the most important thing will be to get the skills down, the fitness and conditioning will come with time. I knew the basics before coming out but it’ll just be about concentrating on them and improving them.”
As for goals for his first season in the AFL, he admits he’s going to play it by year, “I don’t really know where I stand at the moment, Michael Quinn from Longford came out and debuted in the second round, which is unbelievable, but I’ll just work hard in training and hopefully I can eventually start thinking about getting into the first team.”
He was also in touch with Conor Meredith and Colm Begley while he was on the training camp, as Carlton played Meredith’s club North Melbourne during his time down there, while Setanta O’hAilpín is at Carlton and has been helping out both Tuohy and Sheehan since they arrived. Carlton currently sit in fifth position in the AFL, and will be hoping to climb into the top four which would offer them a second chance should they lose in the playoffs. With the top eight making the playoffs, they already seem assured of a place in the knockout stages.
The club will set both players up with accomodation when the move over, as well as flying out their parents in the new year. With Carlton taking care of things in Australia, Tuohy is concentrating on matters closer to home, “I want to get back playing with Portlaoise and win the three in a row, that’s the big thing now.”
By Rory Delaney, Leinster Express