New Brisbane recruit Conor McKenna has spoken on his decision to return to the AFL after initially calling time on his career in 2020.

McKenna departed Essendon after 79 games and six seasons with the club, heading back to his home nation of Ireland to play Gaelic football.

Following a successful stint back home, the speedy defender has returned down under through a move to the Lions, having been signed last year through the opening weeks of this off-season's Supplemental Selection Period.

Speaking to media this week, McKenna revealed he was satisfied back home in Ireland, but soon became open to a switch down under following a spike in interest from multiple AFL clubs.

“I was happy at home, to be honest, and playing Gaelic football again,” McKenna said.

“I was lucky enough to win the All-Ireland ... so after I won that it made it easy to decide to come back.

“Talking to a few people from here got the ball rolling.”

Brisbane managed to edge out the likes of Geelong and Port Adelaide to secure the half-back's services, with the Tyrone native preferring a move to the Lions given their strong premiership chances heading into 2023.

Off the back of adding former Bulldog Josh Dunkley, champion Hawk Jack Gunston and top-rated draftee Will Ashcroft, McKenna further bolstered Chris Fagan's premiership prospects with his venture to Springfield.

Brisbane Lions defender Conor McKenna (Image: Brisbane Lions)

McKenna revealed his sights are set on competing for a premiership, having been starved of finals success during his stint with the Bombers.

“Out of the clubs I was talking to, they were probably the club closest to going on to win a premiership,” McKenna revealed.

“That's my goal now. I played for Essendon for six years ... but I want to be competing deep into the finals.”

The 26-year-old isn't the only Irishman to make the move to Brisbane this off-season, with former Saint Darragh Joyce joining his fellow countryman in becoming a Lion through the SSP window.

The pair join former Ballyboden player and Brisbane speedster James Madden to expand the Irish cohort at the Lions.

Joyce was delisted by St Kilda last year after 13 games for the Moorabbin club across five seasons.

After the Lions had kept a close eye on the defender during his time with Saints, a move north to link up with McKenna and Madden was an easy decision for Joyce.

“Brisbane had been keeping tabs on me the last couple of seasons, behind the scenes. When the call came I jumped,” Joyce said.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 07: Darragh Joyce of the Saints gets tackled by Robbie Gray of Port Adelaide during the round 16 AFL match between the Port Adelaide Power and the St Kilda Saints at Adelaide Oval on July 7, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

“It helped that two Irish boys were up here, so I had a little bit of a connection to settle in, but all in all, it's a pretty club with a great culture."

Joyce's AFL lifeline comes after the Lions moved defender Marcus Adams to their long-term injury list, with the Brisbane backman continuing to battle concussion symptoms that were first felt late into last season.

Round 1 opportunities are sure to be on offer to both Joyce and McKenna as they look to break into Fagan's side for their season opener against Port Adelaide on Saturday, March 18.