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Tyrone's McKenna receives support in wake of his test turnaround


Outcome: Conor McKenna has now tested negative for Covid-19

Outcome: Conor McKenna has now tested negative for Covid-19

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Outcome: Conor McKenna has now tested negative for Covid-19

Past and present Irish AFL players have rallied around Tyrone man Conor McKenna after the quarantined Essendon wing-back tested negative for Covid-19 yesterday.

In the latest twist of a saga that has attracted much publicity Down Under - a lot of it highly critical of McKenna - the 24-year-old returned a negative reading for coronavirus just three days after submitting a positive test, which led to his side's Sunday showdown with Melbourne at the MCG being postponed.

Westmeath's Ray Connellan has since hit out at the "abuse" levelled at his former Essendon colleague in recent days.

"What a shambles!" Connellan tweeted. "So a player has to put up with being abused by every footy fan in Aus, have the full force football media on his back for days, and it results in this!?

"How his name was released immediately when the tests clearly weren't 100pc is a joke," he added.

Hawthorn player Conor Glass was also quick to defend his fellow Ulsterman having tracked the coverage of the saga in recent days.

"Absolutely shocking behaviour on how this situation was handled!!" the Derry man tweeted.

"Surely some sort of confidentiality comes in to play. Not one thought was given to how the player might feel from having the entire football media and fans getting on his back."

After McKenna's positive test last Saturday, the AFL announced they were restricting the amount of contact training sessions that teams can do, while the Eglish clubman was also being investigated over alleged breaches of league guidelines on social distancing.

However, it is possible that McKenna's positive test was, in fact, a false reading following his subsequent negative result. Essendon released a statement confirming that they are investigating that possibility.

"Essendon Football Club can confirm Conor McKenna has returned a negative result to his Covid-19 swab test on Tuesday, June 23," the statement read.

"It has also been reconfirmed that the two swab tests taken on Friday, June 19 and Saturday, June 20 were both positive results. The club will work with relevant medical experts over the coming days to further understand these results."

The remainder of Essendon's players and staff have tested negative for the virus since McKenna's positive reading, with just one of his team-mates - James Stewart - deemed a close contact, and thus ordered to self-isolate for 14 days.

McKenna has shown no signs of illness and is expected to be tested at least twice more this week as the player, his club and the AFL seek clarity on the issue.

Belfast Telegraph