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'For A Month Before I Went Home, I Trained Once A Week With A GAA Team'

'For A Month Before I Went Home, I Trained Once A Week With A GAA Team'
By PJ Browne
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Conor McKenna still isn't sure exactly what happened last month when he initially tested positive for Covid-19 but then negative several times days later.

Over the weekend, the Tyrone man played his first time for AFL side Essendon since that positive test. He was initially due to make his comeback in a game against Melbourne in June but his positive test forced that game to be postponed.

"I still don’t really know what happened to be honest," McKenna told Teamtalkmag Tyrone.

"On Friday the test came up a false positive, whatever the hell that means, so I had to get retested again on Saturday and that came up positive.

"I then got retested again on Tuesday and that came up negative. I tested negative maybe three times in a row that week.

"I got bloods done and that came up that maybe I had it six weeks before that when I was in Ireland after a flight.

"So there still is no real clarity on it. They are not sure if I had it ten weeks ago when I was in Ireland after a flight or if I had it three weeks ago so I still don’t really know where it stands to be honest. I was another ten days stuck in a room by myself.


"The Irish Embassy sent me a care package of Irish treats. Taste Ireland sent me another package. Even the GPA got in contact with me to see could they help me in any way.

"I felt 100 per cent and that was the biggest shock. I was due to play my first game this year. I went to the captain’s run the day before. The doctor came over to say you have to get retested.

"Even the week after that I never had any symptoms so it really didn’t affect me in any way physically."


Due to homesickness, McKenna came home to Eglish in February. There followed speculation that he could line out for Tyrone this year.

"The club's been really good," McKenna said of Essendon.


"My brother's over here and he's playing for a [GAA] team called Wolfe Tones Melbourne. Essendon let me not train on a Monday and on Tuesday night, I'd go and train with the Gaelic team. For a month before I went home, I was training once a week with a Gaelic team.

"One day I did break down in training. It got a bit too much for me and they went, 'What do you want to do?' I said I'd fly home.

"I came home for four weeks in February and was always going to go back out. I just wanted to come home and talk to mum, dad and the family. I’ve talked about it every year, it’s not really something I shy away from.


"It’s something I always struggle with and at the end of every season I make the decision about whether to go back or not, if it’s worth my while.

"I’ll do the same thing at the end of this season. October time, make the decision ,come Christmas if I want to go back. It will just come down to that week and what I decide.

"I went to the All-Ireland final two years ago and it was honestly one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, to sit there and watch them playing.


"In the first 10 or 15 minutes when they were winning by five points, it was unbelievable to see but it sort of set in that there’s a chance they could win and you wouldn’t be playing which was probably going to be heartbreaking.

"That was the decision I made and I have to live with that. The U21s won the All-Ireland as well when I was away so that hit home as well. I’ve made sacrifices giving up Tyrone but it is always in the near future at some stage that I want to come home and hopefully play for Eglish and get on the Tyrone panel if I can."

See Also: 'First Real Test' Of Paul Galvin's Wexford Reign Led To Player Quitting

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