GAA Football

Glass unlikely to feature in 2020 as McKenna returns to Tyrone training

Conor Glass (left) yesterday confirmed he is leaving the AFL, following in the footsteps of Conor McKenna, who trained with Tyrone for the first time on Tuesday night.

THE chances of Conor Glass immediately linking up with Derry on his return appear to have lessened – but Tyrone have been handed a boost with Conor McKenna joining up with the squad this week.

Glen native Glass yesterday confirmed reports that his time in the AFL was at an end when he posted a statement confirming that he has quit Hawthorn and the sport with immediate effect.

While he made clear that he is coming home to “pursue my love of playing Gaelic for Glen and Derry”, the timing suggests that it may be too late for him to be involved in this year's championship.

Glass is set to spend the next two weeks holidaying in Australia and is not due back in Ireland until October 8.

As Australia is not one of the countries on the green travel list for coming into Ireland, Glass would then be expected to quarantine for two weeks upon his return.

That would take mean he would be unable to join up with the Derry squad until little more than a week before their opening Ulster SFC game against Armagh, which has been confirmed for Sunday, November 1 in Celtic Park.

The elegant midfielder will be a huge long-term boost to the county and looks a readymade answer for the county's long-term problem of not having a natural ball-winner at midfield.

Glass joined Hawthorn at the end of the 2015 season as an International Category B rookie and became the first Irishman to represent the club when he made his debut two years later. He played 21 AFL games in total.

In a statement on Instagram, Glass said: "After having many discussions and thoughts over the past few weeks, I feel like it's time for me to put an end to my AFL career and pursue my love of playing Gaelic for @wattygrahamsgac and @officialderrygaa.

“Thank you @hawthornfc for the opportunity over the past 5 years. You have developed me as an athlete but more importantly, as a person.

“Also a massive thank you to everyone who has helped me over the years, from the coaches, staff, players, the Hawthorn fans, The King family and all the friends I have made."

Glass's contract with Hawthorn was due to expire at the end of this season and with the AFL in the midst of a financial crisis, the reduction of club squads coupled with his limited game time this year meant the decision seemed inevitable.

Hawthorn chief of football Graham Wright said that they supported his decision and that “the pull home has always been there for Conor”.

He is the second Ulster man to leave the AFL in a matter of weeks, with Conor McKenna making a rapid decision to return home mid-season from Essendon.

His return to Ireland was announced in early September and he was at training with Tyrone on Tuesday night after observing the quarantine period.

The Eglish man has been called straight in by Mickey Harte, who will be looking at him as a potentially frightening addition to their half-back line.

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