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Conor McKenna hoping for Tyrone return "this year or next year"

Conor McKenna is hoping to return to his native Tyrone with aspirations of finally lining out for...



Conor McKenna hoping for Tyron...
Football

Conor McKenna hoping for Tyrone return "this year or next year"

Conor McKenna is hoping to return to his native Tyrone with aspirations of finally lining out for the Red Hand county. 

The 24-year old has been with AFL side Essendon since 2015, but has told the BBC that he's thinking about permanently coming home in the near future.

McKenna is currently back in Ireland after the coronavirus pandemic caused a shutdown of the AFL season.

Players in Australia have seen their pay cut by 50%, and that could rise to 80% if the pandemic bites harder.

McKenna has 18-months remaining on his Essendon contract and he intends to honour it.

He had only returned to action with Essendon earlier in March having come back to Tyrone in February due to a bout of homesickness.

McKenna had broken into the Tyrone senior panel in their ill-fated summer of 2014 before leaving for Australia.

He's told BBC Sport NI, "I will be home in the next few years."

"Whether it's this year or next year I'm just not sure at the minute," he added.

McKenna told the AFL website in 2019, "I still struggle a wee bit with homesickness and stuff like that", and that was born out in his brief return in February.

That stint led Essendon to offer their support with the club's Dan Richardson saying, "We remain in constant communication with both Conor and his family and we will continue to provide our support during this period."

But a return to his local club remains his priority, followed by - he hopes - a return to the Tyrone senior fold, "I've always had the idea I'd like to return home to Eglish and if good enough for Tyrone.

"It's been five-and-a-half years now and I always think about the opportunity to come back.

"I didn't grow up dreaming of playing AFL, I'm very fortunate to have the opportunity at the minute, but I did grow up dreaming of playing for Tyrone, win Ulsters, win All-Irelands.

"I want to play for Eglish first and see if I can kick the ball straight, then reassess from there."

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Afl Conor McKenna Essendon Tyrone