GAA Football

AFL player Conor McKenna set for final recall?

MICKEY Harte has become famous for pulling rabbits out of the hat ahead of All-Ireland finals, but the latest speculation would trump them all.

The rumour mill in Tyrone has sparked into overdrive with speculation that the call has been sent out to Australia with AFL player Conor McKenna set to hook up with the squad ahead of next weekend’s All-Ireland final with Dublin.

Unlikely it may be, but Harte has a knack for producing shock moves to help Tyrone to the Sam Maguire.

In the 2003 final against Armagh, Peter Canavan famously came back onto the pitch in the 64th minute having been replaced by Brian McGuigan at half-time.

He deployed a tactical masterstroke in the 2005 final as the McMahon brothers, Justin and Joe, were stationed in the full-back line to quell the threat of Kerry’s ‘twin towers’, Kieran Donaghy and Tommy Walsh.

The pair managed just a point between them.

Harte was at it again three years later as Stephen O’Neill returned to the squad days before their second All-Ireland final success against the Kingdom.

The attacker came off the bench in the 25th minute as Tyrone claimed a third All-Ireland title with a four-point win.

McKenna is currently contracted to Essendon although their season is set to come to an end this weekend barring a minor miracle.

Mathematically the Bombers can still make the AFL finals, but it would take an extraordinary set of results for that to happen.

AFL players coming back to help out their club or county has long been a source for discussion.

Just last year there was chat that Conor Glass was coming back to play for Watty Graham’s in their Derry Championship encounter with Slaughtneil, but he never appeared.

However, Martin Clarke did play for his club An Riocht back in 2007 while still a Collingwood player. Clarke lined out in the league semi-final and final, against Mayobridge and Kilcoo respectively, as they took home the title.

McKenna briefly joined Harte’s senior squad in 2014 before making his debut with Essendon the following year.

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