Tyrone have big call to make on Conor McKenna going into the Ulster final 1 week ago

Tyrone have big call to make on Conor McKenna going into the Ulster final

"They're maybe scratching their head going 'where do we play this lad?'

Last season Tyrone were gifted the surprise return of Conor McKenna as he left his professional career in Australia to represent his home county in Ulster.


To say he hit the ground running would be an understatement as he tore Mayo apart, and played an instrumental role in keeping the Red Hands in division one.

He was equally as good against Donegal in the championship but it wasn't enough to get them over the line. This season however, it didn't really seem to be going his way.

They have tried him in several different positions but he struggled to make the impact he had done previously, and was bizarrely not included in the squad at all last week against Cavan, but came on against Donegal in the second half on Sunday.

Speaking on the GAA hour, Colm Parkinson discusses the Eglish man's initial introduction to the Ulster semi-final.

"Conor McKenna comes on the field, he kicks a wide, then he goes up with an Aussie Rules catch with the knee in the back and fouled.

"I wasn't sure it was a foul, but then he kicks a ball over the sideline and I'm thinking Jesus, is this lad's head completely gone?

"Then he turned it around it completely."

Former Tyrone legend, Colm Cavanagh was also on the show, and believes that they have not yet seen the best of the former Aussie Rules player, because they don't know where to play him.


"I'm not sure why Conor wasn't starting, whether it was an injury or if they were just holding him back, Tyrone have been fairly tight-lipped on that, and rightly so.

"Look, the lad came in, he made a few mistakes, and a lot of other players would have put their head down, and sort of hide a wee bit.

"What tends to happen when you make a few mistakes, especially when you're coming into a game, you're going 'holy christ, I made two or three mistakes here, I'm going to start doing things simple.'

"Then you start laterally passing and really focusing on making things so simple, just to get yourself into the game, but to be fair to McKenna, he made a few errors and I was scratching my head thinking that it wasn't looking good for him.

"Then one of the plays when the ball is dropped in, he comes out in front of McBrearty, takes the ball, knocks it away from him, and then takes off up the line.

"He gets the ball again, lays it into McCurry who slots it over the bar, and that play alone shows that he is not phased at all.

"He nearly ran the full length of the pitch, for a lay off, and burned somebody up the line while doing it. Obviously when he came back last year, there was massive attention to him and he delivered, he was unbelievable for Tyrone last year.


"This year has been a wee bit stuttering, as in where is best to play him? Is he an inside forward, is he going to be playing out in half, midfield, and people have talked about him playing at six?

"I don't think we have found the best position for him but when he came into the game at the weekend, I sort of panicked a wee bit, but he steadied the ship for Tyrone.

"I think he will continue to grow, I think the more games he gets, I think Feargal and Brian will probably play him in a number of different positions to try and find his best.

"It's getting late in the day though, going into an Ulster final now, it's not an easy one to call. If he was injured, that's well and good, you can justify not starting him.

"But if he is fully fit, and they held him back, then that's a different story, because they're maybe scratching their head going 'where do we play this lad?'


Listen to the full discussion on the GAA Hour now.