GAA Football

McKenna is 'an excitement machine' - Essendon boss

Conor McKenna in action for Tyrone in the 2013 All-Ireland MFC final at Croke Park
Picture: Colm O'Reilly

ESSENDON have hailed former Tyrone minor star Conor McKenna, who is due to make his debut for the Australian Rules side this weekend, as "an excitement machine".

The Eglish lad has impressed in warm-up games in the Victoria Football League, so much so that he will line out in the Australian Football League against Richmond on Sunday. The game will take place in the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Essendon's interim coach Matthew Egan said: “He’s an absolute competitor, he hates losing.

"He has a beautiful snap for goal, obviously kicking the round ball all his life, he snaps the ball really well. He had a game against Geelong where he kicked four goals from snaps.

“He’s an excitement machine, he adds some speed to our team, which is what we’ve probably missed a little bit with guys like Travis Colyer not playing.”

Essendon have been mostly using McKenna as a forward, but have also tried him out at midfield and he has been working with club development coaches Paul and Mark Corrigan. Egan is happy with how he is adapting to the new code of football.

“He’s still a little bit out of sync with the game but, I tell you what, he’s got that Irish dynamic," he added. 

"He’s a very happy person, very strong over the ball, super quick and he knows how to kick a goal. We just want him to enjoy himself. I hope he goes out and plays with some flair and takes the game on.”

McKenna's parents are in Australia to watch their son make his AFL debut, while Conor has been living with the manager of Essendon's James Hird Academy Marty Allison.

“Marty is a guy who is part of our development coaching regime who has taken Conor in with his family and made him feel very comfortable and also educated and fast-tracked his football knowledge,” assistant coach Mark Harvey said.

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