He struggled to chase down the speedy Irish father, and now interim Collingwood coach Robert Harvey will hand an AFL debut to the athletic son as the Magpies prepare to blood two new players against Port Adelaide.
Irish recruit Anton Tohill and small forward Jack Ginnivan will be unleashed against the Power at Marvel Stadium, bringing the number of Collingwood debutants to nine this year.
Tohill, a 2019 rookie selection, is a 200cm swingman who can also play in the ruck.
The 21-year-old is the son of Derry legend Anthony Tohill, who captained Ireland in an International Rules series against Australia and also spent time on the Melbourne Demons' list.
"I was lucky enough to play against his father ... he was captain of the Irish team in 1998," Harvey said.
"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 his son) is one of those moments I suppose you get where (you realise) the world is small."
Anton struggled to hold back tears when his debut was announced at Collingwood training on Wednesday morning, with teammates immediately mobbing him.
"It was a great moment to see his reaction to that, and the players' heartfelt feeling for him, because they know how hard he's worked for this, and how much he's sacrificed to be here with us," said Harvey, who will play Tohill in defence.
"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."
Harvey said Ginnivan deserved his AFL chance following a solid block of VFL form, which included bags of four goals against Sandringham and Richmond.
"He's a great country kid from Bendigo, really honest," Harvey said.
"He's really popular amongst the boys. He's worked really hard on his game. He's a natural small forward."
The Magpies will be without Josh Thomas (concussion) and Callum Brown (dislocated shoulder) against the Power, while several other players are under injury clouds.
Friday night's game against Port Adelaide was originally meant to be played at Adelaide Oval.
But after a series of plan changes on Tuesday due to South Australia's announcement of a seven-day lockdown, the AFL finally decided to move the game to Melbourne's Marvel Stadium.
Although some people have urged the AFL to put the competition on hold for a week while so much of Australia is in lockdown, Harvey said his team was happy to keep the season going.
Australian Associated Press