IRISHMAN Zach Tuohy has agreed to a new deal at Geelong that will extend his journey into a remarkable 15th AFL season in 2024.
The Cats veteran had been in talks since the end of the season and has now finalised a one-year extension to remain at GMHBA Stadium for an eighth season, after moving from Carlton at the end of 2016.
Tuohy, who turns 34 in December, broke Jim Stynes' long-standing Irish games record when he ran out for the 265th time against North Melbourne in round 17 and is now up to 270 games.
After becoming one of just three players from the Emerald Isle to win a premiership – Tadhg Kennelly and Mark O'Connor are the other two – when the Cats defeated Sydney in his 250th game in last year's Grand Final, Tuohy played 20 games in 2023.
The Portlaoise product is now one of seven Irishmen to play at least 100 games of AFL football, with teammate O'Connor (109) and Brisbane recruit Conor McKenna (103) reaching that milestone in recent months.
McKenna has made a stunning return to the game after spending two years back in Ireland, playing all 24 games so far for the Lions after joining the club during the pre-season supplemental selection period.
The AFL's connection to Ireland has been reinvigorated this year with Hawthorn's Conor Nash backing up a breakout 2022 campaign with an even better season that could see him finish in the top five in the Peter Crimmins Medal.
Two-time GAA young player of the year Oisin Mullin earned a debut with Chris Scott's side after just three VFL games and a couple of practice matches, playing six games in his first season in Australia.
Former Collingwood defender Mark Keane grasped his chance at Adelaide late in the season, stepping up in a Showdown to earn a two-year extension, playing the final five games of the season for the Crows.
Darragh Joyce has also just signed a one-year extension after making the most of his second chance at Brisbane after being delisted by St Kilda at the end of last season.
Greater Western Sydney forward Callum Brown has played 17 games under Adam Kingsley in 2023 and is set to play in a semi-final against Port Adelaide this weekend after a strong campaign to date.
Carlton, St Kilda and Gold Coast have all spent time in Ireland this year scouting players with the Blues recently signing Rob Monahan from Kerry and Matt Duffy from Longford, while the Saints have signed Cork product Liam O'Connell.