Conor McKenna has explained why he decided to play a local Gaelic match while on an off-season break in Ireland.
The dashing Essendon defender played for local club Eglish in a playoff match earlier this month, with the Bombers confirming they hadn’t spoken to McKenna about his appearance in the game.
McKenna admitted he “didn’t know what to expect” when he returns to Essendon to explain his actions.
"I'll explain what the club has done for me and how I wouldn't be in this position (without) them and that I feel obligated to give something back to them," McKenna told the Irish Independent.
"I'm not really sure what to expect but I'll go back and whatever happens, happens.
"You feel like you owe (your Gaelic team) and I do owe them everything for what they have done for me.
"You grew up playing with these people – you have cousins and brothers playing – so it's a family and community-based thing. That's my point.
"I came home before and sat there and watched them and it's a very hard thing to do, so I came home and they had a relegation battle and I decided to play."
McKenna played in all bar one of Essendon’s games in 2019, having missed the round 19 clash against Gold Coast to return home to attend a family wedding, and finished fourth in the best and fairest.