Darren McCurry has landed 0-17 for Tyrone in their two Ulster Championship matches to date against Cavan and Donegal.
And while he will be doing his utmost to add to his personal haul when he lines out against Monaghan in Saturday’s provincial decider at Croke Park, he has what he sees as an even more important goal to pursue.
“My big aim and that of all the players is to try and deliver an Ulster title for Tyrone,” says McCurry emphatically. “When you think of the grief, worry and hardship that people have endured since March of last year, you just want to try and bring a spark of brightness into their lives if you can.
“We are very fortunate to have thousands of faithful supporters and we would love to come up with the goods for them. We believe we are in a privileged position to be representing Tyrone.
“We understand that Monaghan have had their own trials and tribulations, particularly over the past week or so, and they too will be keen to win for their own special reasons.”
McCurry, one of the hottest forwards on the island just now, has been setting the tone in terms of Tyrone’s finishing powers but is quick to stress that the team’s progress to date has been achieved because of a huge collective effort.
“Don’t forget we went into this Championship on the back of a shattering League defeat to Kerry. We had to go back to the drawing board and pick ourselves up from that and thankfully we have been able to achieve this but we know that Monaghan will be a huge test for us,” insists McCurry.
When Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher took up the managerial reins towards the end of last year following Mickey Harte’s departure to Louth, it was felt that Tyrone might undergo a transitional spell away from the spotlight.
Indeed, suggestions that the team was preoccupied with a defensive policy and the fact that some players were drifting away led to the belief that Tyrone might be joining the also-rans in the race for honours this year.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only did the side retain their place in Division One of the Allianz League but they thundered into the Ulster Final.
And now with Dublin beginning to show elements of vulnerability, there is even speculation about bigger prizes but the level-headed McCurry is keeping his feet firmly planted on the ground.
“One step at a time, that’s what I always say,” he points out. “Take it from me that Monaghan is the only team on our radar. With competition for starting places so keen, everyone is keeping their nose to the grindstone.”
If the League defeat against Kerry was a shattering experience, it nonetheless provided the framework for a renewed approach to the team’s strategy and style.
With Conor McKenna, Mattie Donnelly, Conor Meyler and the ebullient McCurry among those on fire up front — and a posse of players waiting to step in if they are not — the Red Hands hope to enjoy an even more fruitful scoring dividend against Seamus McEnaney’s side next Saturday.
“From our perspective, we have to focus on ourselves. Every player knows his role. We can’t control what happens outside our squad. We know we have to put in a big performance next Saturday and where else would you want to be other than playing in Croke Park?” states McCurry.
Himself no stranger to personal trauma — his mother died when he was 13 — McCurry perhaps understands better than most people the anguish that the Duffy family have endured since the tragic death of Brendan Óg.
“It’s absolutely heartbreaking,” he says. “There are no words that can adequately describe the family’s grief. My heart goes out to them and so does the hearts of all Tyrone players and supporters.
“While I enjoy playing for Tyrone, I am always thinking of my own mother and I know she is looking down on me.”
McCurry’s scoring exploits may have ushered him into the national spotlight but he remains far from consumed by his own input.
“We have boys who are now coming in off the bench and helping to get us over the line. This was certainly very much the case against Cavan and Donegal and everyone saw the depth there is to our panel. Our management duo Feargal and Brian have certainly been showing their capabilities in deploying substitutes and I think we will see more evidence of this against Monaghan,” points out McCurry.
Tyrone have not won the Ulster title since 2017 and such is the football fervour within the county that the four-year interlude since then is regarded as something approaching a famine.
“You can’t blame people for wanting success, especially in these difficult times, and we will do our utmost to deliver this on Saturday,” adds McCurry.