All-Ireland winner Conor McKenna is to return to Australia and resume his AFL career in a major blow to Tyrone.

It is understood that McKenna, who joined Essendon as a teenager, has informed his Red Hand team-mates of his decision.

Several clubs are believed to be interested in his signature, which does not have to be confirmed until November ahead of the new season in March.

The 26-year-old returned to Ireland two years ago, immediately making his senior debut, and last season achieved his dream of winning an All-Ireland medal.

McKenna was a star of the Tyrone minor side that won the Ulster title in 2013, after which he opted to travel Down Under and pursue a career as a professional sportsman.

But he had made no secret of the fact that he wanted to return and win an All-Ireland with the Red Hands.

He played a key role in Tyrone’s 2021 Sam Maguire Cup success, scoring two goals in the semi-final win over Kerry and setting up the clinching goal for Darren McCurry in the final against Mayo.

McKenna’s imminent departure is the latest in a series of forwards lost to Tyrone, following the decisions of Mark Bradley, Ronan O’Neill, Paul Donaghy and Lee Brennan to quit this year.