Essendon Bombers’ Conor McKenna plans Ireland return ‘in the next few years’


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“I will be home in the next few years,” McKenna, who made his AFL debut late in the 2015 season, told BBC Sport NI.

“Whether it’s this year or next year I’m just not sure at the minute.

“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.”

McKenna emphasised he wanted to play for County Tyrone but planned to initially resume Gaelic football for hometown Eglish.

“I didn’t grow up dreaming of playing AFL,” he said.

“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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McKenna is contracted to Essendon until the end of the 2021 season, having signed a four-year extension in 2017 and the Bombers are optimistic he will return this year.

“It’s not the end of 2020 yet, so there’s a lot of footy left, hopefully, to be played this season,” Essendon coach John Worsfold told reporters on Wednesday.

“Conor was up and ready to go. My expectation is that he’s really keen [to play again].

“He’s going to be over there following a training program and looking forward to getting back over here and getting into it.”

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