By Niall Gartland
DARREN McCurry is in the form of his life. Last year he was named man of the match in the All-Ireland final, won an All-Star and he was even labelled as the best forward in the country by Joe Brolly back in the springtime.
The 29-year-old wasn’t afforded the same opportunity to shine in the championship as it was a shortened campaign (hopefully a mere blip in the overall trajectory of this team), but he still looked in great nick and is shooting the lights out for Edendork ahead of Sunday’s Intermediate final against Galbally.
His performance against league kingpins Eglish in the semi-final was simply sensational – ten points was the headline, but it was his five exquisite scores from play that took the breath away. No matter the angle, he simply couldn’t miss.
Natural talent plays a part, but it’s generally accepted that he’s one of the most dedicated players anywhere in Tyrone.
“It’s important to have the mindset to get out of the house and go down to the pitch with a bag of balls. It’s an escape from your every-day busy lifestyle, but what I think is crucial is what I call ‘proper practising’ – practising under pressure, copying match situations.
“ I think that’s what sets different players apart – when they’re doing something that will genuinely improve your game.
“To be honest the rest of the lads make it pretty easy as well, they do a lot of the dirty work, allowing me to get into good positions and feeding me with good passes.”
McCurry has been a resurgent figure in Tyrone football in recent years, something he attributes to the faith placed him by his management teams and the people around him.
“To be honest I just do the same things I’ve consistently done over the last decade. You need a bit of luck in this game, and people who believe and place your trust in your.
“Over the last couple of seasons that has happened, and I feel I’m playing with loads of confidence, which is a massive part of being a good inside forward.
“I’m 29 now but to be honest I feel like I’m 20. I look after my body very well, I’m thankful to be injury free and playing the sport I love.”
Captaining Edendork for the second time in his career, McCurry will lead his side out on Sunday afternoon against Galbally for a chance to win the Paddy Cullen Cup.
Edendork are favourites to prevail, but Galbally have a never-lay-down attitude, and McCurry knows from experience what their co-manager Joe McMahon brings to the table.
“Joe is a massive asset. He’s coached Tyrone for the last few years, and I played alongside him and he was an unbelievable footballer. His knowledge of the game is second-to-none and he’ll be bringing that to Galbally.
“I’ve watched all of Galbally’s games, they’ve been so dogged. They’ve an extremely good midfield and forward line.
“Their games have been close but they’re getting over the line and we’re in for one hell of a battle.”
The last time Edendork actually lost a match was against Galbally in early June, shortly after Tyrone’s championship exit. However, they clicked into gear thereafter and haven’t lost in 15 matches.
“It was disappointing to lose with Tyrone but it was good to get back to the club and we built up momentum with me, Niall [Morgan] and Conn [Kilpatrick] back.
“We went on a good run after that Galbally defeat, we got back up to speed and hopefully it’ll be enough for us to do the business on Sunday.”