Conor McKenna's AFL return 'looking promising' - Essendon coach

Conor McKenna returned to Northern Ireland earlier this month for "homesickness and family-related reasons"
Conor McKenna returned to Northern Ireland earlier this month for "homesickness and family-related reasons"

AFL side Essendon have said that Conor McKenna's return is "looking promising" after spending time back in Tyrone.

McKenna returned to Northern Ireland earlier this month for "homesickness and family-related reasons".

The 23-year-old former Tyrone minor star joined Essendon in 2015 before earning a new four-year deal in 2017.

"We've been in constant contact with Conor over the period of time that he's been away," Essendon assistant coach Mark Harvey told the Brisbane Times.

"We'd like to think that he comes back pretty soon and hopefully we can have him available for selection too.

"It's looking promising and our support staff have done an enormous job with this."

In November, McKenna turned out for hometown club Eglish during the AFL off-season before fuelling speculation of a possible return to the Tyrone fold by leaving Australia earlier this month.

Cathal McShane, who was McKenna's team-mate in the Tyrone minor panel, earlier this month rejected a contract from AFL club Adelaide Crows after being offered employment in Northern Ireland.

McKenna signed a new four-year deal with Essendon in 2017
McKenna signed a new four-year deal with Essendon in 2017

McShane has since returned to Mickey Harte's side but on Sunday suffered an ankle injury during his county's humbling 2-25 to 0-12 defeat by Galway in Tuam.

It looks as though Harte will be dealt a further blow with Harvey saying that McKenna has been continuing his Essendon training programme ahead of the new season.

"He's done the majority of pre-season [training] and he's still training over there," he said.

"Conor is a guy that comes up really quick ... so I would say that Conor, pending when he does come back, that he'll be available for round one."

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