GAA Football

Kerry win a day Edendork collective won't forget says Tyrone star Darren McCurry

Back on familiar soil, Darren McCurry shone as Tyrone edged past All-Ireland finalists Kerry during Sunday's National League clash in Edendork. Picture by Seamus Loughran
Neil Loughran

SOMETIMES home comforts make all the difference – and that was certainly the case for Darren McCurry as he shone in Tyrone’s one point win over Kerry on Sunday.

With Healy Park unplayable, Pairc Arthur Mallon in Edendork welcomed David Clifford and his Kingdom cohorts for a crunch Division One clash, the Red Hands bidding to bounce back from a disappointing defeat to Monaghan seven days previous.

There were three representatives of the host club on show, with goalkeeper Niall Morgan and midfield Conn Kilpatrick also lining out, but it was McCurry who stole the show – capping a superb performance with an outrageous sideline kick heading into added time.

“I was never as grateful as my ambition was always to get playing a National League match on my home ground,” said the 27-year-old.

“I know every blade of grass here, and I've covered every blade of grass here… I've probably hit hundreds of thousands of shots into these goals. I've been up here all my life, my home house is just over the road and I've been coming up since I was no age.

“If you can't play well on your home patch you can forget it. I loved the reception I was getting - the fact that there were three Edendork players on the team made this game even more special and a day I'll never forget as a clubman, especially playing with Niall and Conn since I was 10 and 11.

“These are the good days, but it's only two points and tomorrow we'll be back recovering and working hard again.

“This is only one game, just two points and there's a massive task coming up in two weeks against Galway.”

The frees from McCurry and Morgan, especially in the first half playing into the wind, helped keep Tyrone in the game as Kerry threatened to open up a bigger lead at the break.

And McCurry was quick to sing the praises of his club-mate for his show of steel against the elements.

“Niall Morgan had a great game keeping us in contention in the first half, kicking points like he's been doing here since he was 13 years of age.

“The arrangement is that Niall hits the long-range frees and I'll hit the ones closer to goals. You saw Niall in the first half and those ones against the breeze from far out were unbelievable - I couldn't hit it that far.

“We've a great relationship hitting frees with the club. You can see how good he is.”

And while it was McCurry who got the biggest cheer of the day when walking victorious from the field at the end, the return of Cathal McShane to the Tyrone field was also marked by the Red Hand faithful.

McShane appeared set to relocate to Australia after being offered a contract with Aussie Rules outfit Adelaide Crows. However, he opted to stay at home, significantly bolstering Mickey Harte’s attacking options.

“It’s definitely great to have him back as a target man for the attack,” said McCurry.

“Last year Cathal last year had an unbelievable season and it's really good to have him back in there. He's really strong, his runs are top class to find him with the ball and you can get the runners off him.”

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GAA Football