Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Shooting stars aim to outgun rampant Mayo

Target man: Darren McCurry has racked up 24 points for Tyrone

Two of Tyrone's exciting young guns plan to shoot from the hip against Mayo in Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo at Croke Park.

Darren McCurry and Matthew Donnelly represent the new breed of players in Mickey Harte's side – skilful, confident and ambitious.

Both, though, have their feet firmly on the ground. McCurry has knocked over 24 points to date while Donnelly is proving a revelation in the half-forward line.

The duo bring an extra dimension of pace to the attack and are extremely comfortable on the ball – something that is particularly appealing to manager Harte.

"These young men have been given their chance and grabbed it with both hands. Now they have to challenge themselves against Mayo as indeed we have to do as a team," states Harte.

McCurry has produced stunning scoring feats to date, firstly firing over eight points against Offaly and then registering eight against Meath in the qualifiers.

And Donnelly, who plays further outfield and is known for his strong work ethic, had a hand in several of those scores.

Indeed, the 23-year-old Trillick clubman suggests that the three-week break which Tyrone have had since their win over Monaghan has helped them to fully recharge their batteries.

"Having to play five games in six weeks was physically demanding particularly given the kind of weather we had. We did not have a lot of recovery time. But after that win over Monaghan we have had the chance to catch our breath and recover properly," explains Donnelly.

"Our preparations are going along nicely now. We always set our target to get over the quarter-final knowing that we would have a break after that.

"Thankfully we have managed that and now the focus is on full steam ahead."

And Donnelly confirms that he never had any doubts that Tyrone would reach the closing stage of the competition.

"After the league final defeat to Dublin I don't know if it was huge belief or hunger or a combination of both but this helped to keep our momentum going," he reveals.

"Playing in Croke Park against Dublin was a big occasion for us younger players and after that we resolved to get back there as quickly as we could."

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