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Dublin: 19 °C Thursday 6 August, 2020
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'I still don't know what happened' - McKenna remains in dark over positive Covid-19 test

Essendon star Conor McKenna hasn’t ruled out the possibility of lining out with Tyrone in 2021.

Conor McKenna of the Bombers during the Round 6 AFL match against North Melbourne last weekend.
Conor McKenna of the Bombers during the Round 6 AFL match against North Melbourne last weekend.
Image: AAP/PA Images

CONOR MCKENNA SAYS there is “there still is no real clarity” on the circumstances that led to him becoming the first AFL player to test positive for Covid-19. 

The Essendon player also didn’t rule out the possibility of returning to play with Tyrone in 2021, explaining that he’ll make a decision on his future at the end of the year. 

McKenna was the subject of a major controversy in Australia last month when he tested positive for coronavirus, but he still doesn’t know how or if he contracted it. 

He subsequently tested negative for Covid-19 on three occasions and after sitting out one game, he returned to line out for the Bombers in their 12 point win over North Melbourne last weekend where he suffered a broken finger.

Speaking with Teamtalkmag Tyrone last night, he said it’s a possibility he contracted the virus as far back as 10 weeks ago when he was in Ireland during the AFL’s hiatus.

“I still don’t know what happened to be honest,” he said. “On the Friday the test came up a false positive, whatever the hell that means, so I had to get retested again on Saturday and that came up positive.

“I then got retested again on Tuesday and that came up negative. I tested negative maybe three times in a row that week.

“I got bloods done and that came up that maybe I had it six weeks before that when I was in Ireland after a flight.

“So there still is no real clarity on it. They are not sure if I had it ten weeks ago when I was in Ireland or if I had it three weeks ago so I still don’t really know where it stands to be honest. But I was another ten days stuck in a room by myself.

“I felt 100% and that was the biggest shock as I was due to play my first game this year. I went to the captain’s run the day before and the doctor came over to say you have to get retested. 

“Even the week after that I never had any symptoms so it really didn’t affect me in any way physically.”

afl-bombers-training McKenna during a training session with Essendon. Source: AAP/PA Images

The 24-year-old has made no secret of his desire to play for Tyrone at some point in the future. He lined out with his club Eglish for a relegation play-off game last November without Essendon’s approval and returned home in February due to homesickness.

He hasn’t ruled out the possibility of packing in his AFL career at the end of this season, even though he is contracted through the 2021 campaign.

“I came home for four weeks in February and was always going to go back out. I wanted to come home and talk to mum, dad and the family. I’ve talked about it every year, it’s not really something I shy away from.

“It’s something I always struggle with and At the end of every season I make the decision about whether to go back or not, if it’s worth my while.

“I’ll do the same thing at the end of this season. Take my time, make the decision come Christmas if I want to go back. It will just come down to that week and what I decide.

“I went to the All-Ireland final two years ago and it was honestly one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, to sit there and watch them playing.

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“In the first 10 or 15 minutes when they were winning by five points, it was unbelievable to see but it sort of set in that there’s a chance they could win and you wouldn’t be playing which was probably going to be heartbreaking.

“That was the decision I made and I have to live with that. The U21s won the All-Ireland as well when I was away so that hit home as well. I’ve made sacrifices giving up Tyrone but it is always in the near future at some stage that I want to come home and hopefully play for Eglish and get on the Tyrone panel if I can.”

McKenna will miss Friday’s game against the Western Bulldogs after breaking his finger during the third quarter against North Melbourne. He will have surgery in the next couple of days but only expects to be sidelined for “a week or so”.

afl-clubs-depart McKenna and Jayden Laverde of the Bombers board a flight to the Gold Coast. Source: AAP/PA Images

He praised the way the Bombers have treated him, even explaining how they allowed him skip one training session a week during last season so he could train alongside his brother Ryan at local GAA side Wolfe Tones in Melbourne.

“My club have been very supportive while I was in quarantine and I can’t thank them enough,” he added.

“The Irish Embassy sent me a care package of Irish treats as did Taste Ireland. Even the GPA got in contact with me to see could they help me in any way. It is unbelievable the support that you get from the Irish community on the other side of the world.”

Meanwhile, it has emerged that North Melbourne’s Luke McDonald called McKenna to apologise for his Covid-19 taunt last weekend. 

McDonald covered his mouth and mocked McKenna during the game with the AFL set to “seriously investigate” the incident according to Fox Sports Australia.

Kangaroos coach Rhyce Shaw criticised his player’s actions.

“I want to address the Luke McDonald and Conor McKenna incident from the weekend,” Shaw said on Monday.

“It’s not on, and not something we stand for. Luke has called Conor and apologised.”

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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