Conor McKenna had been reconsidering his return to the AFL earlier this year, when he returned to Northern Ireland for an extra break because he was homesick. Picture: Getty
Conor McKenna had been reconsidering his return to the AFL earlier this year, when he returned to Northern Ireland for an extra break because he was homesick. Picture: Getty

Conor McKenna’s family speaks out ove COVID-19 test

Conor McKenna's family in Northern Ireland say he was healthy when he left to return to Australia.

Pat McKenna said the family in Dungannon, a small village about 45 minutes west of Belfast, were clear of the coronavirus.

"We're all fine, Conor is healthy, he got nothing from here," his father said.

"There's nothing going around here, Conor's fine and healthy and well."

The Essendon speedster's positive coronavirus test, which was under review, has forced the Bombers' game against Melbourne to be postponed and thrown the AFL season into turmoil.

Conor McKenna of the Bombers stretches during an Essendon Bombers AFL training session at The Hangar on June 2. Picture: AAP
Conor McKenna of the Bombers stretches during an Essendon Bombers AFL training session at The Hangar on June 2. Picture: AAP

Mr McKenna, who runs an engineering business in the picturesque village, said he was surprised at the positive result.

"He's living with his brother and his brother's girlfriend, he's had no symptoms, he's had no side effects whatsoever," he said.

"He's not had any symptoms of any kind, as far as we know he's had nothing."

Mr McKenna said the family was supporting him from Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland has largely dodged the coronavirus, compared with the rest of the UK which has the worst death toll in Europe.

 

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Cleaners are seen working at The Hangar. Picture: AAP
Cleaners are seen working at The Hangar. Picture: AAP

There were no deaths from coronavirus in Northern Ireland on Sunday, the latest figures available, and only four new cases.

The overall death toll in Northern Ireland was 545 from 4,870 cases, while the UK overall had 42,717 deaths, from more than 300,000 cases.

McKenna had returned to Dungannon during the AFL's coronavirus break after spending an extended period of time at home earlier in the year.

He flew back to Australia in May to rejoin Essendon and did a 14-day quarantine on arrival.

McKenna tested negative five times before his positive results.

McKenna was considered one of Essendon's key players and the club has been making every effort to help him adjust to life in Melbourne.

He had been reconsidering his return to the AFL earlier this year, when he returned to Northern Ireland for an extra break because he was homesick.

 

Conor McKenna had been reconsidering his return to the AFL earlier this year, when he returned to Northern Ireland for an extra break because he was homesick. Picture: Getty
Conor McKenna had been reconsidering his return to the AFL earlier this year, when he returned to Northern Ireland for an extra break because he was homesick. Picture: Getty

McKenna hinted in May that he planned to see out his two-year contract because he wanted to play finals with Essendon, along with a move into the forward line.

Dungannon has rolling hills and farmland, with very few shops and a church in the local town.

McKenna spent most of his time on the family's property, which also has nearby access to a river for fishing.

The UK lockdown prevented people from leaving home except for work and exercise.

The McKennas have a large extended family in the same street of Dungannon, with the elite runner able to continue training with relatives during the crisis, which was within the UK's lockdown rules.

stephen.drill@news.co.uk

Originally published as Conor McKenna's family speaks out