Anton Tohill couldn't hold back the tears after being told he will make his AFL debut for Collingwood against Port Adelaide on Friday night.
Tohill - son of Derry great Anthony - went to Melbourne in October 2018 having impressed at an AFL Combine in UCD and then another trial at the AFL Academy in the USA.
He's has had a rotten run of luck Down Under. During his debut campaign, he suffered a concussion, a quad injury and tore his hip rotator. He then went home for Christmas and damaged his skin off his shin after falling off a treadmill.
The outbreak of Covid-19 saw the AFL suspended while the VFL, the reserve league where Tohill had been getting game time, was cancelled entirely.
Announcing his selection at training, Pies coach Robert Harvey said: "This is a special one in that he's worked his arse off to get to where he is now. He's going to come in off the back of doing his job and just doing it to a tee. Anton Tohill is in."
Absolute scenes.— Collingwood FC (@CollingwoodFC) July 21, 2021
Harvs announces that Ginnivan and Tohill are making their debut. pic.twitter.com/n6KUpA23mM
Harvey payed against Anthony Tohill - who spent a short time as a rookie player with the Melbourne Demons in the late 80s -.in an International Rules game.
"I was lucky enough to play against his father... he was captain of the Irish team in 1998," he told the Collingwood website.
"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 Anton] is one of those moments I suppose you get where [you realise] the world is small.
"He's worked so hard on his game. 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."