ZACH Tuohy is set to break the record for most VFL/AFL games played by an Irish-born footballer when the Cats host North Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium this Sunday 9 July.

Tuohy equalled the record of 264 games held by AFL great and Melbourne Hall of Famer Jim Stynes against Sydney on Friday night.

Stynes, who played for Melbourne from 1987-1998, proved incredibly durable over his time with the Demons, and it is a trait shared by Tuohy, who has played a minimum of 18 games each season since his second year in the AFL. 

Originally from County Laois, Tuohy had an impressive Gaelic Football career as a junior, capturing the eye of Carlton’s scouts and earning his way into the AFL via the Rookie Draft.

Tuohy played 120 games over six years with the Blues, before moving to Geelong ahead of the 2017 season.

Since then, the running defender has played 144 games with Geelong, and was part of the Cats’ 2020 and 2022 Grand Final sides, breaking through for a maiden AFL premiership last season.

The 2022 Toyota AFL Grand Final also marked Tuohy’s 250th game of AFL football.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Mark O’Connor of the Cats and Zach Tuohy of the Cats celebrate during the 2022 Toyota AFL Grand Final match between the Geelong Cats and the Sydney Swans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 24, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos)

Geelong Cats Chief Executive Officer Steve Hocking congratulated Tuohy on the milestone.

“On behalf of our members, partners, staff and men’s and women’s playing groups we congratulate Zach and his family on this VFL/AFL milestone,” Hocking said.

“His bravery in moving to the other side of the world to pick up a new sport as a 20-year-old, and to have built such an incredible career, is testament to his strength of character and determination.

“Zach’s skill and tenaciousness on the football field have made him such an important player for our AFL program over many years, and he has been a catalyst for our Club as it continues to attract Irish talent to both our men’s and women’s programs.

“Jim Stynes was a giant of the AFL, as we see with his enduring legacy in the broader football community to this day. The honour of equalling and now surpassing Jim’s incredible games tally will not be lost on Zach.”

Zach Tuohy Showreel

Top 5 VFL/AFL Irish players by games played

=1. Jim Stynes 264 games
=1. Zach Tuohy 264* games
3. Tadgh Kennelly 197 games
4. Pearce Hanley 161 games
5. Sean Wight 150 games
*at the completion of Round 16 2023