GAA Football

Tyrone star McCurry thinks GAA should scrap 2020 inter-county Championships

Darren McCurry (right) doesn't feel Tyrone - or any county - should be in Championship action this year.
Pic Philip Walsh
Francis Mooney

TYRONE attacker Darren McCurry has called on the GAA to scrap the 2020 inter-county season.

He says it's unfair to expect amateur sportsmen to follow an intense training regime for more than a year without a break.

County squads are due to return to collective training in two weeks, with the National Leagues to resume in mid-October, followed by the Championship.

But McCurry says it's time to call a halt, to forget about this season's All-Ireland, and start afresh next year.

"At the end of the day, we have a life to live as well, and I just think it's unfair to put that pressure on the county players.

"I don't think it should go ahead," he said.

"With the county, we have been training from last November.

"And to expect the players to play in a tough club season week in, week out, and then be expected to go and start county again right up to Christmas, then push into the following year with McKenna Cup and League, I think that they're expecting too much of the county players in having to do both.

"The county players haven't stopped training since last November, doing their gym training, then the McKenna Cup and the League.

"And during lockdown, it's not as if boys weren't looking after themselves.

"And if boys have a good run in the Championship and League, you're playing matches week in, week out."

The Edendork clubman warned of the mental pressures that can accompany the physical excesses of an extended season.

"They're expecting a lot of the county players to basically go straight back into pre-season again with the county.

"It's not just physically, but mentally as well that you're affected, to play with the club and then get re-focused.

"And to go out in the cold weather and bad weather as well. At least in the summer time the grass is green."

However, McCurry insisted that if the inter-county season does go ahead as planned, he will be part of it.

"If it does happen, I'll be on board, but I would rather it didn't happen."

In the meantime, he's making the most of a rare opportunity to devote all his energies, for the first time since his Tyrone debut in 2012, to his club.

The ace finisher was in sublime form at the weekend, scoring nine points in Edendork's IFC quarter-final win over Rock.

"It's been absolutely fantastic to have this time with the club and not having to worry about going to the county.

"You know you have a match every single week and the camaraderie is great, so we're in a good place."

And McCurry gave his backing to calls for a split season for club and county football, with a preference for club action to come first.

"I think it's the only way forward, after being part of it this year.

"It's great to be playing with your mates and the people you grew up with, representing your village and then going on to represent your county.

"I think it's only fair that the club have a fair crack at it.

"I think it should be club first and county later, but I'll leave it up to the more important men to decide that."

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GAA Football