McKenna to play championship before return Down Under

Australia-bound Conor McKenna has given a commitment to his club that he’ll be available for its entire Championship journey this season.

The All-Ireland winner may not be seen in a Tyrone shirt again, but he will don the distinctive black of Eglish for the Intermediate Championship ahead of his departure for a second spell in the AFL.

Eglish begin their IFC challenge two weeks from tomorrow in a fist round tie against Clogher.

The series will be run off over five weeks, with the final scheduled for October 23.

A number of AFL clubs are understood to be interested in signing McKenna, who spent five successful seasons with Essendon before returning home in 2020 to fulfil his dream of winning an All-Ireland title with Tyrone.

But for now, his sporting commitment has been pledged to the club where he learned the skills of gaelic football and became one of its most outstanding exponents.

“We’re delighted. Conor is Conor, he loves playing the game, and we’re blessed that we’ll have him for whatever distance this Championship runs,”
said Eglish manager Mattie McGleenan.

“That’s’ all we can ask of Conor, and we know he’ll give us everything he has got.”

Former Cavan boss McGleenan insisted that McKenna will return to the Southern Hemisphere with the best wishes of the entire Eglish community.

“Conor is an outstanding young man. He has made a decision to go back to the AFL, he had a chat with us last week about it.

“Conor had rang me a couple of weeks ago, and we had that conversation. He rang me to say that a team had been in contract with him about going back, and he had made the decision to do it.

“He spoke to all the senior team. we have known about if for a couple of weeks, so it’s nothing new to us, we knew this was going to happen.

“The whole of Eglish wishes him well, he’s a tremendous young man and we’re delighted to see him living his dreams.

“For Eglish to have a lad going to play AFL football is an absolutely unbelievable achievement.”

The imminent departure of the 26-year-old leaves a void in the teams of both club and county, but former Tyrone attacker McGleenan has no concerns over the depth of talent in the county.

“When Peter Canavan retired, the big question was, who was going to wear the number 14 jersey, and there was an outstanding group of men who came along after that and filled that jersey, and Tyrone have gone from strength to strength,” he said.

“There’s another good man out there who is going to wear that number 14 jersey and carry the tradition on.

“Conor has left the jersey in a good place, and we want him to leave the Eglish jersey in a good place over the next number of weeks in the Championship.”

And McGleenan believes that Tyrone supporters may well see their most famous export return to the fold before his playing career is over.

“Never say never. Conor is a loss. Listen, Conor is going for possibly a year or two, we’ll see what happens.

“The way the world is now, life has changed for a lot of people.

“Eglish has lost Patsy Jordan this week, a tremendous ambassador for Eglish GFC. All he wanted was to see Eglish back in senior football, and he wanted to see an Intermediate Championship back on the table.

“Conor’s job is to make that dream come true for Patsy, and that’s what we’re playing for and that’s what we’re fighting for now


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