Tears and backslaps as popular Tohill gets the call for his AFL debut
Anton Tohill's tears tell a story of their own but it's the reaction of his teammates that tell you just how hard this man has worked for his moment.
The Collingwood team huddle almost erupted with excitement, all jumps, roars and backslaps on Tuesday when head coach Robert Harvey let them know that Derry's finest Anton Tohill would make his AFL debut this Friday night. In what was clearly an emotional moment for the player himself, what stood out even more was the joy and excitement of his teammates for a 21-year-old who is quite clearly a popular member of the team.
Having made the move to Australia in 2018 after standing out for the Derry minors, Tohill served his time as a rookie before catching the eye in the VFL this season. It was his impressive displays for Collingwood's second string that saw him move up the ranks to where he is now, to the target that will have been on his mind ever since the Pies first called three years ago.
At that rate and when you consider that many Irish exports don't make it to the first team at all, Tohill's emotion was understandable and it was refreshing after Harvey called him out as the team's 9th debutante for the year for the game against Port Adelaide this Friday night.
"They're special moments for all debutantes. But this is special because he's worked his arse off to get to where he is right now," said the head coach, "He's in because he's been doing his job and he's been doing it to a tee. Anton Tohill, you're in..."
The tears were flowing as Derry's Anton Tohill found out he'd make his AFL debut this Friday night.
This would have been the aim when he moved Down Under three years ago and it's clear how much it means to him 👏pic.twitter.com/AcOqjZgM34
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) July 21, 2021
It's a proud day for Swatragh, it's a proud day for Derry and it's a proud day for the Tohill family as Anton goes one better than his legendary father Anthony, who despite having made the move to the AFL in 1990, never made a first team start for the Melbourne Demons.
Tohill senior went onto succeed in every sport he turned his hand to, even earning himself a trial for Manchester United and after all that, the old seanfhocal still rings true - Briseann an dúchas trí shúile an chait...