McKenna defends Gaelic decision

McKenna defends Gaelic decision

ESSENDON defender Conor McKenna has defended his decision to play an unsanctioned Gaelic football match in Ireland earlier this month.

Bombers star McKenna played for his local club Eglish in a relegation match against Edendork, a decision which Essendon coach John Worsfold described as “disappointing”.

The 23-year-old revealed he hasn’t spoken to Essendon about the incident but expects the AFL club to be understanding.

“I haven’t really talked to the club much about it, I’ll talk to them when I go back,” McKenna told the Irish Independent.

“That was the decision I made so I’ll go back and see what the consequences are.

“They know how much I miss home and how much Gaelic and home mean to me so I think they’ll be pretty understanding.

“I’ll explain what the club has done for me and how I wouldn’t be in this position only for them and that I feel obligated to give something back to them.

“I’m not really sure what to expect but I’ll go back and whatever happens, happens.”

McKenna says he felt obliged to help his local club out, and pointed to other examples of Irish AFL players who went home to play Gaelic football in the off-season.

“The club is where you came from and that’s what brought you up and I wouldn’t really be in the position that I am in with the AFL unless it was for them and for the county.

“You feel like you owe them and I do owe them everything for what they have done for me. I came home before and sat there and watched them and it’s a very hard thing to do, so I came home and they had a relegation battle and I decided to play.

“To play for them (Eglish) for 18 years and then to go home and completely shut off, it’s difficult and that’s why so many Irish players like Zach Tuohy, Mark O’Connor and Tadhg Kennelly went home and played; it’s hard not to.”

© AAP 2019