"There were murmurs that he didn't have it on the big days" - McCurry's redemption 8 months ago

"There were murmurs that he didn't have it on the big days" - McCurry's redemption

"After all these Tyrone matches, the man of the match isn't obvious."

Colm Parkinson has been following Tyrone's journey to become All-Ireland champions for 2021 and has happened upon a similarity to the side that won the last six Sam Maguire trophies.


"That," Parkinson continues, "is a feature of Dublin as well. Has it gotten so much about teams, and everybody working so hard, that Man of the Match picks aren't always stand-out?"

As it transpired, with Tyrone beating Mayo to clinch their first championship title in 13 years, the scoring contribution of Darren McCurry (1-4) saw him win the RTÉ and Sky Sports accolades.

In the latest episode of The GAA Hour [LISTEN from 1:02:00], host Parkinson broke down the final with guests Alan Brogan and Colm Cavanagh. All three men weighed in on McCurry and his road back to All-Ireland glory with Tyrone.


Darren McCurry of Tyrone celebrates with the Sam Maguire after his side's victory over Mayo. (Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile)

McCurry excused himself from the Tyrone senior panel in 2018, after struggling to hold down a regular starting spot or failing to get to the end of big matches. He returned in 2019 and the road to where he reached on Sunday began.

Under the new Tyrone management duo of Feargal Lohan and Brian Dooher, the Edendork clubman has stepped up his game and was pivotal in Tyrone's championship run.


"McCurry did well," says Parkinson, "1-4, including 1-2 from play. His goal was a tap-in but he still had to make that support run, and he did. If he hadn't, Conor McKenna could have been blocked down. He deserves credit for that."

Cavanagh, who played a few seasons with McCurry before retiring from inter-county football, was mightily impressed with the 25-year-old. He comments:

"To be fair to McCurry, there's been a massive question mark over him, in Tyrone, for a few years. He's always been very good in the Ulster championship and in the league. The talk was, 'Can he do it on the big day?'

"There have been days where he hasn't stepped up to the plate and hasn't performed. Even after the semi-final performance - Tom O'Sullivan [of Kerry] did a really good job on him. There was an awful lot of pressure on him, I thought, going into the final.

"There were murmurs of, 'Well, he doesn't have it on the big days', but you've got to give him credit. The goal, albeit a tap-in, came about as he made a serious run to get there. His fitness levels are really, really high, and it was a great finish. I thought he was brilliant.

"You have to give him his full credit," Cavanagh adds, "as there was that question mark over him. He doesn't miss. Taking free-kicks from the wrong side, scores from play and then getting that goal - a massive performance from him."


Other Tyrone players that came in for extended analysis and praise on the show were Niall Sludden, Padraig Hampsey and Con Kilpatrick, while "warrior" Lee Keegan was the Mayo player that earned the biggest plaudits from the beaten side.

Performance of the Week winner, though, none other than Niall Morgan.

"He's bringing the risk back into Gaelic Football," Parkinson declared. "I bloody love him for it!"