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Darren McCurry aiming to point the way for Tyrone



Shooting star: Darren McCurry is keen to prove a rich source of Tyrone scores in the league

Shooting star: Darren McCurry is keen to prove a rich source of Tyrone scores in the league

�INPHO/Evan Logan

Shooting star: Darren McCurry is keen to prove a rich source of Tyrone scores in the league

The speculation to date in the printed media relative to Cathal McShane's sporting future could well have made inroads into a small forest in terms of newsprint.

Yet right now a largely unsung player would appear to be poised to continue the sort of scoring extravaganza which won the hugely talented McShane an All-Star award towards the end of last year.

Darren McCurry has represented Tyrone in the past but having resumed service in the county colours he looks set to take on the mantle of finisher supreme for the duration of the Allianz League, in which the Red Hands will open their campaign against Meath at Healy Park, Omagh on Sunday (2pm).

McCurry has served notice that scoring is now second nature to him if one is to judge from the seven points he landed in the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup semi-final win over Down and the three points he contributed in an explosive 10-minute spell immediately prior to the interval against Monaghan in the decider, which propelled the team into a 0-8 to 0-3 lead after they earlier laboured to hit the target.

Manager Mickey Harte may still question the wisdom of McShane's decision to survey his potential new surroundings in the Australian Football League but one thing he does not question is McCurry's ability to fill the breach left by his departure.

"I believe that if Darren McCurry and Ronan O'Neill in particular keep playing the way they are doing then they can make a mark and definitely be very useful to this Tyrone team as the season goes on," stated Harte.

McCurry, for his part, admits that this endorsement is music to his ears as he re-invents himself in an attack which may be shorn of some elite names but which is still imbued with considerable firepower.

"I was lucky enough to get the few points that helped to settle us against Monaghan on Saturday night. We knew it was going to be a tough game but don't forget Monaghan are a Division One team just like us. We are going to have to get accustomed to meeting the real quality sides over the course of the coming weeks and if selected I would hope to try and do my bit by putting scores on the board," said the modest and unassuming McCurry.

His pace, ability to score off either foot and willingness to battle for and win possession have already transformed him into a marquee forward.

His irrepressible form against both Down and Monaghan should earn him a starting place against Meath or the equally important role of impact substitute.

"This is a huge game for us against Meath on Sunday," insisted McCurry. "It's absolutely essential that we get two points because you don't want to be falling behind at an early stage. We want to hit the ground running and hopefully the fans will get behind us."

While Matthew Donnelly and McShane are regarded as Tyrone's most high-profile absentees, several other players including Mark Bradley and Ritchie Donnelly are still out of contention.

But McCurry is philosophical as he contemplates the forthcoming clashes with sides such as Dublin, Kerry and Mayo.

"When you are going in against teams like these, you need strength in depth and Mickey Harte has worked hard to build up the squad," added McCurry.

"The mood is good in the camp, everyone is prepared to fight for the cause and we want to try and provide the best possible entertainment we can for our loyal followers. Division One is massively competitive and we know we cannot afford to concede ground at any stage."

Belfast Telegraph