Contributed by: Wesley Hull
Star Essendon defender, Irishman Conor McKenna, has returned to his homeland on the eve of the 2020 AFL Premiership season. Whilst the move is by no means permanent, the club will monitor progress closely over coming days and weeks.
The Essendon Football Club issued the following statement:
"Essendon defender Conor McKenna has returned to his homeland of Ireland due to homesickness and family-related reasons."
"General manager of football Dan Richardson said the 23-year-old had the club’s full support to return to his native country."
“We have been in lengthy discussions with Conor over recent weeks and we are completely supportive of him returning home to be with his family at this time,” Richardson said.
“We remain in constant communication with both Conor and his family and we will continue to provide our support during this period.”
McKenna had an enormous season in 2019, finishing fourth in the club’s best & fairest award the Crichton Medal. His dash out of defence and partnership with fellow speedster Adam Saad was a cornerstone of the club’s performances on-field across 2019.
Returning home during the 2019 season for his brother’s wedding, and also fitting in a game of Gaelic football for his hometown, Eglish, during the year, McKenna has had an unsettled twelve months. It is hoped that this latest trip home may lead to a more permanent resolution for himself and the club.
According to today’s report from the http://www.afl.com.au website, McKenna is expected back for the pre-season Marsh Community series where he may find more time playing in the forward half as the club looks to increase its scoring power.
McKenna has been a huge success story for Essendon, and certainly a motivator in the club recruiting two further Irish footballers – Cian McBride and Ross McQuillan – for the 2020 season.
The footballing world will watch the progress of this story over coming weeks, most particularly Essendon supporters who have fallen in love with his dash and dazzle, though possibly not the blonde hair.
World Footy News