AFL Europe are incredibly excited to watch one of our Irish recruits debut for Essendon FC this weekend! Congratulations goes out to Conor and all his hard work, it has been a long time coming.
Essendon’s Irish recruit Conor McKenna will make his senior debut on Saturday night against Richmond.
The 19 year old travelled from Tyrone in Northern Ireland to Tullamarine at the end of last year for a shot at making it in the AFL.
“It’s great reward for the hard work he’s put in,” Essendon Development Coach Paul Corrigan said.
“He’s obviously crammed a lot in the time that he’s been here.
“He does more sessions than anyone else, he never misses a beat.”
While most Irish players are used off the half-back line, McKenna has shown some natural flair in front of goal.
In his 15 VFL games this season, he’s kicked 18 goals.
“The coach took me in yesterday about three o’clock after training,” McKenna said.
“Cora, who has been working with me all year, he just said ‘congratulations, you’re playing against Richmond this week’.
“It’s just good to get a role now.”
McKenna’s signature was highly sought after because of his elite speed, athleticism and endurance.
He grew up playing Gaelic football and has spent extra time with Essendon’s development coaches learning the finer points of the game.
“In defence, it was not too bad, but then I went forward and the structure of the game is just hard to get used to but hopefully I’ll get it right now and come Saturday it’ll come to plan,” he said.
McKenna’s parents are flying out from Tyrone to attend Saturday night’s match.
Written by Simon Conway for essendonfc.com.au