Tuesday 23 January 2018

Tyrone's new generation ready for the hard graft, says McCurry

Darren McCurry has been Tyrone’s most prolific forward during a difficult campaign
Darren McCurry has been Tyrone’s most prolific forward during a difficult campaign
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Tyrone attacker Darren McCurry says he understands former player Owen Mulligan's contention that some of the new breed of footballer representing the county were just happy to have a jersey.

Mulligan made his view known in his autobiography two years ago but McCurry feels the application is improving.

"I understand the point that he's making," he said, ahead of Sunday's Ulster SFC match opener with Tyrone.

"Some of the young boys coming through thought that the Ulster titles were just going to keep on coming and you didn't have to work hard.

"I understand his point. It does require a lot of hard work and dedication and commitment. Slowly but surely, I think the boys are starting to understand that.

"You only have to look at the likes of Donegal and the amount of work they put in," he said.

McCurry has been Tyrone's most prolific forward during a difficult campaign, but Mickey Harte has set out a different role for him that has seen him take up deeper positions and carry ball at opposing defences.

"Last year, I was an inside man. This year, I've been kind of pushed out, so I had to adapt my game," he said.

"I had to get a lot fitter and a lot stronger, which required a lot of work on and off the field."

McCurry feels the League defeat to Donegal at the end of March will shape the way they will play in Ballybofey.

"Donegal have very good forwards, the likes of Michael Murphy and Paddy McBrearty, very good players.

"We felt that our defence was a wee bit open to the counter-attacks from them, even in the League.

"It was something new and it required a lot of work and a lot of patience," he said. "We're still not there yet.

"Donegal get on a run and they're an extremely well drilled team with a lot of confidence.

"That's what we have to try and get. We feel that we have the talent, just we don't produce it every day."

The 22-year-old, now in his fourth season, admitted losing by such a heavy margin in that league tie was a "real downer".

"It took a while to get out of that wee slump but, slowly and gradually, we're getting up there.

"Suffering a defeat to Donegal like that, knowing that we were going to play them in the Championship, was a big loss and a big downer. But I think we pulled ourselves up well."

Tyrone and Donegal both finalised their preparations at weekend camps. Donegal were back in the Lough Erne resort where they were prior to last year's All-Ireland final.

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