Darragh Canavan: We’re lucky to have a player like Darren McCurry in Tyrone

The Tyrone assistant has offered Darren McCurry as an example of how the Red Hands have been 'bulking up'
Darren McCurry Darren McCurry

ALL the post-match talk centred on Darragh Canavan’s virtuoso display against Mayo last weekend – but just like the Healy Park crowd, the Errigal Ciaran man was dazzled by ‘Dazzler’ in a memorable second half.

Between them, Canavan and Darren McCurry kicked 1-12 – all but three of Tyrone’s scores in their four-point win over Mayo that eased their relegation worries somewhat after back-to-back defeats in Division One to Derry and Galway.

When Tyrone were struggling in the opening half and allowed Mayo to fashion a three-point half-time lead, Canavan kept the home side in it before finding the net in the 48th minute that proved the platform for victory.

McCurry had yet to feature in this season’s NFL campaign due to injury and a bout of flu threatened to keep him sidelined for another week.

But joint-manager Brian Dooher threw the mercurial Edendork attacker in after half-time and he hit eight sumptuous points (0-6 frees).

“It’s nice watching him,” said Canavan on McCurry’s dramatic entrance last Saturday night.

“He’s unbelievable. Sometimes you just need to give him the ball and get out of the road. It’s definitely easier playing with a player like ‘Dazzler’. He’s a quality player to watch too and we’re very lucky to have him.”

If Canavan and McCurry produced the champagne moments that saw off Mayo on the scoreboard, the rest of the Tyrone team rediscovered their renowned “intensity and aggression” in the second half that blew the Connacht men away.

Dooher let loose at half-time which had the desired impact.

“The first half was a bit dead but it was a much better second half,” Canavan acknowledged.

“Dooher gave us a bit of a dressing down at half-time and we deserved it. It definitely worked.

“There was no real edge or aggression about us in the first half. We weren’t tackling hard, we weren’t tackling in numbers which is our game.

“We came out in the second half and, to be fair to the boys further down the pitch, there was unbelievable effort and really kicked us on.

“We were more Tyrone-like in the second half so we just need to build on it now and do it for a full game would help.”

Tyrone travel to Killarney to face Kerry on Sunday with the winners virtually securing their top flight status for next season. Both sides are currently stuck on two wins and two defeats apiece.

Canavan added: “It’s never easy down there but we’ll give it a good rattle and if we bring enough aggression and intensity like we did against Mayo I don’t think we’ll be too far away.”

Fresh from his Sigerson final triumph with Ulster University, Canavan was also keen to spread the praise around the team especially with so many young players being road-tested this season as Tyrone await a few more familiar faces back from the treatment table.

Ciaran Daly, Seanie O’Donnell, Aidan Clarke, Conall and Niall Devlin haven’t looked out of place since stepping into the breach.

“The young lads are really stepping up and are showing what they’re made of,” insisted Canavan.

“Fair play to them, they’re working hard in training and they’re showing it in matches that they’re more than good enough for this level, so hopefully we can keep pushing on and get a few more wins.”