THERE was a bit of an Errigal Ciaran theme to Tyrone’s victory over Monaghan at Clones last Sunday.
You had Peter Harte nailing a penalty, Cormac Quinn rifling home a super goal, Darragh Canavan playing in a beautiful assist on that occasion as well as kicking three points.
Then there was the fourth Errigal Ciaran starter – Joe Oguz, whose hard work around the middle sector also caught the eye. He’s really starting to make a name for himself – he was one of the men singled out for praise in the media after Tyrone’s recent win over the Kingdom – and he’s glad to acknowledge that he’s faring well in his second season on the Tyrone Senior Intercounty set-up.
Referring to the calibre of the stalwarts on the team, he said: “These are men that I have been watching for a long time now.
“Last year I was on the panel, but now I’m trying to make a mark in the first team, so hopefully I can push on.”
As for the Errigal Ciaran theme running through the panel, he said that they know each other inside out from club football and that’s a big plus when lining out in the red and white of Tyrone.
Joe said: “You have Cormac, Petey and Darragh, and then you have Ruairi [Canavan] and men like that coming off the bench as well.
“It makes it that wee bit easier. You know their game and they know yours, with runs and stuff like that.”
His physical presence in the middle third has an added benefit as it’s one of the reasons why Conn Kilpatrick and Brian Kennedy are able to be deployed as target-men on the edge of the square at certain times in their matches this year. Kennedy won a first-half penalty and both men got their names on the scoresheet, and in general they’ve been given more freedom to roam as a result of the unselfish play of Oguz and others on the team.
“We talked about Conn dropping in and Brian dropping in, and we saw that there with Brian getting the penalty and Conn getting a few marks, so it works.
“It’s rotational really, so whoever is feeling it at the time just goes in, and then the other men are just working hard out the pitch.
“It creates another dimension in there. We have Dazzler and Darragh, and they can work off the big man as well, so its’ another dimension to our game.”
While Tyrone aren’t yet guaranteed of survival, they’re in a much, much better place after back-to-back league wins over Kerry and Monaghan. Oguz said they were able to control the contest when Monaghan went down to 13 men in the second half.
“In the second half, with them going two men down, it gave us a bit of room at the back to work it better.
“It was a good win today, we needed that. It makes it a wee bit more manageable now.
“We took the learning from the Kerry game, just the hard work that we showed in the Kerry game.
“We just said that that’s what we’re about, that’s our ethos I suppose, so we just took it in to this game too.”
Elaborating on that point, he said they were keen to show their trademark resilience when their backs were against the wall following defeats in the earlier rounds.
“I know there were questions asked of us, but in the group ourselves, we knew what we were about, and it was just about going out and showing what we’re about.
“It shows in the tackling, and then we get a wee bit of a boost from that, and then we can drive on going forward.”
“The performances in those first four games just weren’t good enough.
“But we knew what we were about, and it was just about doing it on the day.”
Next up, Armagh in their seventh and final league game. Oguz is calling for Tyrone fans to come out in numbers at O’Neill’s Healy Park next weekend.
“It’s a matter of heads down again and going out and putting in another performance again next week.
“There was a good crowd there for the Kerry game, and hopefully they’ll turn up again next week.”
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