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Peter Canavan pictured at the Sky Sports GAA Championship launch.
Peter Canavan pictured at the Sky Sports GAA Championship launch.

Canavan excited about McKenna's return


By Cian O'Connell

Peter Canavan is excited about the possibility of Conor McKenna making a welcome return to inter-county Gaelic Football action with Tyrone.

Having forged a successful career in the AFL with Essendon, McKenna has returned home in recent months.

A highly regarded footballer, who played for Tyrone in the 2013 All Ireland minor decider against Mayo, McKenna will provide Mickey Harte's panel with another talented option.

"He's back at training and the vibe is that he's moving okay," Canavan says.

"But the length of time he's been out, it's going to take him a while to get up to the speed of the game, to get used to playing with the round ball again.

"It's the one good news story in Tyrone, when you consider Cathal McShane is out, the loss of Colm Cavanagh.

Conor McKenna featured for Tyrone in the 2013 All Ireland Minor Football Championship final against Mayo at Croke Park.
Conor McKenna featured for Tyrone in the 2013 All Ireland Minor Football Championship final against Mayo at Croke Park.

"Conor was a brilliant underage player for Tyrone, really exciting. So, he's back, he's training with the team, but I wouldn't be expecting too much of him.

"If he was to make the first 15, I think that would be a massive achievement for someone who has played no club football."

Canavan is adamant that McKenna has plenty to offer the Tyrone cause in the coming weeks, months, and years.

"I don't think it'll be fitness or strength that's going to be a mitigating factor with Conor, it's going to be the movement patterns and getting used to the round ball again, and fitting in with the rest of these players," Canavan adds.

"I know myself from coming back from long-term injury, it takes four or five games at least to get up to speed again with where you'd like to be and just getting used to match competition. I think that's his biggest hindrance.

"He was a professional athlete. I don't think it's going to take him any time at all to get up to speed physically, it's just match speed and getting used to systems of play."