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Coronavirus: Future of Tyrone Aussie Rules player Conor McKenna in doubt after positive test


Conor McKenna playing for Essendon

Conor McKenna playing for Essendon

via Getty Images

Conor McKenna playing for Tyrone

Conor McKenna playing for Tyrone

�INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Conor McKenna playing for Essendon

Tyrone native Conor McKenna could find himself at a crossroads in his sporting career after testing positive for the Covid-19 virus with Essendon Bombers, the team with which he has been hitting the high spots in the Australian Football League.

Having spent time back home in Eglish last November, during which period he helped his local club secure their place in Division One of the All-County League, McKenna had only recently returned Down Under following a further spell at home and had been looking forward to lining out with Essendon against Melbourne yesterday.

But even though five previous coronavirus tests which he undertook since his return proved negative, a further test was to prove positive, which resulted in the match being postponed and McKenna being sent into self-isolation.

It is understood that McKenna is now considered to be in breach of AFL protocols governing the Covid-19 virus and could face punishment.

His plight is not helped by the fact that he has become the first player within the sport to test positive for the virus.

His loss would certainly be felt by the Essendon club, given the fact that last year he proved a shining light at half-back in what was to prove nothing more than a moderate season for his team.

Having initially honed his skills with his GAA club in Eglish, McKenna had come to the attention of AFL scouts and subsequently Tyrone manager Mickey Harte had suggested that he might like to remain at home for longer and bid to become a regular in his Red Hands side.

But the opportunity to achieve new status on the other side of the world was to prove too good to resist, although the prodigiously-talented McKenna has made no secret of the homesickness from which he has suffered during his involvement to date in the AFL.

The fact that his sister Kerri lived quite close to him and that his brother Ryan came to stay with him eased his burden in this connection.

It allowed him to highlight the many-sided skills he boasts - and for which Essendon have been grateful.

Now, though, he may be confronted by a big decision regarding his future in what is proving an unprecedented yet in some respects turbulent sporting year on several fronts to date.

Should he be served with a lengthy ban by the AFL, McKenna might well wish to reconsider his future, which could see him make a return to Eglish, while on the other hand Essendon may be unwilling to lose his many-sided talents.

He has previously served an AFL ban after having pleaded guilty to biting an opponent.

Belfast Telegraph