Joe Oguz determined to take centre stage with Tyrone

Errigal Ciaran man enjoying ‘healthy competition’ for midfield spot with the Red Hands

Joe Oguz says Tyrone can build on their win against Monaghan last Saturday night. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin
Joe Oguz says Tyrone can build on their win against Monaghan last Saturday night. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin

Joe Oguz says he won’t relent in challenging Tyrone’s long established midfield partnership as he pushes for a piece of the action.

And he feels it can only be positive to have at least three players putting their hands up for selection in the engine-room.

Oguz got the nod ahead of Conn Kilpatrick to start alongside Brian Kennedy in last weekend’s All-Ireland SFC clash with Clare, giving way to Kilpatrick after 49 minutes of the Healy Park victory.

The roles may well be reversed for the crunch meeting with Cork on the weekend after next, but in the meantime, the training ground at Garvaghey will be a hive of competitive activity as the pair vie for the number nine shirt.

“It’s very healthy competition. Everybody needs it, just to keep everybody honest and keep everybody getting better,” said Oguz.

“That’s what we’re all about in training as well.

“I’m just happy to be back out there, getting another game under my belt, and showing what I’m about.”

Fermanagh's Ryan Jones takes a catch under pressure from Tyrone midfield duo Brian Kennedy and Conn Kilpatrick (8) in the Ulster SFC preliminary round. <br />Pic Philip Walsh
Joe Oguz is hoping to break into the Tyrone midfield with the All-Ireland winning duo of Conn Kilpatrick and Brian Kennedy providing healthy competition

The Errigal Ciaran man feels Tyrone may be in the process of turning a corner in their search for a level of consistency that has been difficult to find since the start of the season, following a 14 points win over Clare.

“We showed what we’re all about. Throughout the league and the championship, we haven’t given a good account of ourselves over 70 minutes, but at the very end, the score-board showed that we are there or thereabouts, and we just have to keep doing what we’re doing game by game and see where it takes us.

Tyrone took some time to get going at O’Neills Healy Park, but pulled away in the closing stages to carve out a comfortable winning margin.

“The first half, we probably didn’t show what we were about, and then second half, probably the second half of the second half, we were able to show our fitness.

“I think we had the legs in the last ten or fifteen minutes, we were able to pull away, and it was just pure conviction then, just keep adding to the score-board then, not letting up.

“The rest of the game we were still there, we were still holding the lead and we were able to hold out until that last fifteen minutes, and then we got the subs on, fresh legs, and then just took it from there.”

Going into the final round of group games, Section C is wide open, with Cork, Donegal and Tyrone all in contention to finish top and go straight through to the quarter-finals.

If the Red Hands are to claim first place, they must get the better of Cork on the weekend after next.

“That’s what we’re aiming for. That’s what we set out to do to at the start and that’s what we’re still aiming for.

“All we can do is take the next two weeks to prepare, and the 70 minutes then.

“It’s wide open, you can see in the group stage, ourselves and Donegal are on two points and Cork are on four points, so everybody can win it and top the group.”

But the Rebels will show no fear of Tyrone as they chase a second notable Ulster scalp, having stunned Donegal with a highly efficient performance last weekend.

“It was a big performance and result for them, and they have definitely put themselves in the driving seat for the rest of the group stage.

“We have a lot to prove going down there in two weeks time, we have our work cut out for ourselves.”