Conor McKenna's AFL career is in doubt after he returned to his native Tyrone due to what his club Essendon have described as "homesickness and family-related reasons".

The 23-year-old former Red Hands minor footballer made his debut with Essendon in the summer of 2015.

McKenna proved to be a huge success Down Under but has been open about his struggles with homesickness over the last five years.

McKenna got into hot water with the Melbourne-based Bombers last November when he played a Gaelic football match on a visit home, scoring a goal to help his club Eglish maintain their Division 1 status in a relegation play-off.

In a 2017 interview with RTÉ Sport's Eoin Ryan, he admitted: "It's not really the game that's the problem, it's the homesickness. You adjust to the game pretty quick.

"My first year (2015), when Tyrone won the Under-21 final it really hit home and you start questioning whether it was worth it or not. But then this year, to get a few games in a row gives you more belief in yourself."

Essendon released a statement on Tuesday confirming McKenna had flown back to Ireland, while offering their full support to the player.

The club are believed to be optimistic he will return in time for the start of the AFL 2020 season next month. 

"We have been in lengthy discussions with Conor over recent weeks and we are completely supportive of him returning home to be with his family at this time," their general manager of football Dan Richardson said. 

"We remain in constant communication with both Conor and his family and we will continue to provide our support during this period."