"I just had to get myself back to Dazzler. I think I did that." - McCurry dazzles again
The Dazzler is back, there's no doubt about that.
As he talked about the perfect day, as he soaked in the roars from the stands, he had just been named man-of-the-match in the All-Ireland senior football final and never has a man seemed so content with life. All the while, a tear was never too far from Darren McCurry's eye and as he was presented with his award by GAA president Larry McCarthy, it seemed to have hit home that all the struggles and all the doubters were behind him. All he'd ever dreamed of and worked towards was right here in front of him.
"Years of hard work, of struggling, finally we've got there in the end, and it's just unbelievable, it's an unbelievable feeling," said the talismanic Edendork club-man.
Dark days he had his fair share. His early years as an inter-county footballer were stop-start and they were frustrating. Even a blind man could see that McCurry, with his fast feet, tremendous shooting and scorer's instinct, had what it took to make it at the grade but too often he flattered to deceive. He'd go from a good day, when the shooting boots were on and the hopes would rise again, to being subbed early the next day. It all came to a head in 2018 when after a disappointing year, McCurry decided to drop himself off the panel for a year.
A change is as good as a rest.
He came back the following year and with the consistency coming, he's been like a new man ever since. 2021 was his best year yet, this was his best day yet and an All-Star award looks a high possibility at this stage. The Dazzler is back.
"When I left in 2018, I just had to get myself back to my best, back to Dazzler and I think I did that, I think I showed that out there today, I'm back enjoying my football," he continued.
"I knew the last day, against Kerry, I didn't really do myself justice, things didn't go well. I knew coming in here, I was in great shape, as were the team and I just wanted to get every ball and do something with it."
McCurry lost his mother when he was a young chap and as the interview drew to a close, he looked up to the sky to say thanks for all she'd ever done for him.
"I'm sure she's looking down on me today a happy mother."
"When I left in 2018, I just had to get back to my best, back to Dazzler..."
Man of the Match Darren McCurry on his journey to becoming an All-Ireland champion #RTEGAA #TYRONEGAA pic.twitter.com/1I2NMLii2a
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) September 11, 2021
The struggles and the dark days were worth it for a day like today.