Darren McCurry - "If Mickey Harte had have been there the following year, I would have left" 5 months ago

Darren McCurry - "If Mickey Harte had have been there the following year, I would have left"

"I had lost all my confidence."

You can't win an All-Star without dazzling a little, and no one dazzles better than the dazzler himself, Darren McCurry.

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The Edendork forward burst onto the scene back in 2013, when he was paired up front with then captain Stephen O'Neill, and the two went on a terrific run throughout the qualifiers, right to the semi-final.

The star shooter seemed destined for greatness but after that season, things went a bit stop and start, where he would go from starting every game but being one of the first substitutes off, or not starting at all and coming on late in the game.

Couple this with the fact that Tyrone were under the management of Mickey Harte, and played with a very disciplined running game, that involved all of the forwards to work back, track their men, and play the ball through the hands.

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Any 'out and out' forward in the game will tell you that they want the ball kicked in - constantly and immediately, so McCurry often felt that he couldn't get the best out of himself in a Tyrone jersey.

The constant substituting was affecting his confidence as well, and when the 29-year-old was speaking to BBC Sport, he admitted that if Mickey Harte had of been in charge last season, he wouldn't have been there.

"If Mickey had have been there the following year (2021) I would have left. It was a constant battle - I felt no matter what I did I was always going to be the boy taken off.

"I was not enjoying it (in 2018), I didn't want to be there, I wasn't happy, I wasn't playing well and I had lost all my confidence.

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"Forwards need confidence. I felt Mickey wasn't giving me any confidence and the backroom team maybe wasn't giving me any.

"I wouldn't say I was hard done by but it was definitely tough. When I was playing well, even in training and in games, I still wasn't starting or if I made a mistake I was the first man off. Your confidence just goes right down to rock bottom.

"In 2020 Donegal defeated us. I felt I was having a great first half and I think I gave the ball away once and I was taken off. I just couldn't get my head around this.

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"It was just a constant battle with my own head going 'What do I need to do?' and feeling under pressure all the time."

Of course Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan came in, and all confidence seemed to be restored overnight for the left footed kicker.

McCurry played the best football of his career, winning an All-Star, All-Ireland medal, and even picked up the Man of the Match award in the final.