Conor McKenna returns to Tyrone duty

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Conor McKenna made his first start for Tyrone against Donegal at the weekend after a six-year stint in the AFL with Essendon. The Eglish man transitioned seamlessly back to the round ball and earned an impressive personal tally 1-02.

In the first-half, he was somewhat lucky to be awarded a penalty. However, there was no such luck involved when he picked out Frank Burns with a kick-pass early in the game, providing an easy mark.

McKenna spent much of the game between the inside and half-forward line. But, he wasn’t afraid to work for the team and showed a desire to get in on the action. To illustrate, a hefty collision with Michael Murphy before half-time drove the Donegal man backwards. This is something not many have achieved.

Mickey Harte was clearly looking to utilise McKenna’s physical attributes at every opportunity. For example, he was in midfield for the throw-in at the beginning of each half.

 Answer to McShane Absence

With the absence of Cathal McShane for the season, Tyrone needed some firepower inside and McKenna could be the answer. Mickey Harte will be left frustrated that he can’t combine McShane and McKenna but Tyrone’s forward line is still in promising condition.

In the second-half, McKenna played closer to goal and looked a real threat. He kicked two points in the game. Both coming after good patient play around the D. McKenna was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty in the 57th minute when it looked like he was fouled by Neil McGee.

When the game was finished as a contest, Conor McKenna still had gas left in the tank. In the 72nd minute, he picked the ball up 20 yards from goal and with four Donegal defenders in his path. But, with a savage turn of pace and his trademark dummy solo, he cut inside and created enough space to put the ball into the net.

If Sunday’s showing was only a glimpse of what is to come, Tyrone fans have much to look forward to. With their round 7 game against Mayo next weekend a relegation battle, McKenna could be a vital asset.

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