GAA Football

Joe Oguz determined to make his mark as Tyrone prepare for League finale against Armagh

Tyrone's Joe Oguz and Kerry's Paul Murphy and Paudie Clifford in action at Healy Park. Pic Philip Walsh.
Andy Watters

THE performance of Joe Oguz epitomised a determined Tyrone display last Sunday as they pulled away from the relegation zone with an emphatic victory over Monaghan in Clones.

After three defeats in their first four games, the Red Hands had serious relegation issues to deal with but back-to-back wins over Kerry and Monaghan mean that safety is now in their hands and a point against Armagh this weekend will guarantee survival in Division One. Depending on other results, victory might even by enough to earn a place in the League final against Mayo (2023 Allianz Football League: Fixtures, results and tables - The Irish News).

“Armagh’s next,” said Oguz after the 2-15 to 0-13 win.

“It’s heads-down again now and we’ll go out and look to put on a performance next week. The performances in the first four games just weren’t good enough but there should be a cracking atmosphere next week.

“There was a good crowd in Omagh for the Kerry game and hopefully we can follow that up against Armagh.”

The Errigal Ciaran clubman with Turkish heritage worked hard around the middle of the field as Brian Kennedy and Conn Kilpatrick took turns at operating at full-forward.

“We have Brian dropping in and Conn dropping in and you can see that it works with Brian getting the penalty (scored by Peter Harte) and Conn getting a couple of points,” said Oguz, who rejected the tongue-in-cheek suggestion that he does the spade work for the 2021 All-Ireland-winning midfield pair.

“They do a lot of hard work too,” he added.

“It’s rotational. Whoever is feeling it at the time just goes in (to full-forward) and the other men are working hard up the pitch.

“It works, it brings another dimension to our attack. We have ‘Dazzler’ (Darren McCurry) and Darragh (Canavan) up there and they can work off the big man as well so it adds something else to our game.”

After coming through on successful Tyrone U20 sides, Oguz was called up to the senior panel last season. He’s finding his feet quickly and hopes to make an impact this year.

“I’m in with men that I’ve been watching for a long time,” he said.

“Last year I was on the panel but now I’m trying to make my mark on the first team and hopefully I can push on.”

Having a number of his clubmates from the Errigal Ciaran side that won last year’s Tyrone senior championship could help make the transition a little more comfortable for the former U20 star.

“You have Cormac (Quinn), Petey (Harte) and Darragh (Canavan) and you have Ruairi (Canavan) coming off the bench now too so it makes it that wee bit easier I suppose,” he said.

“I know their game and they know mine, they know the runs I make and stuff like that…”

2023 Allianz Football League: Fixtures, results and tables

Monaghan managed just one score from play on home soil last Sunday but they stayed in touch up to half-time thanks to Michael Bannigan frees and series of marks. However, Jack McCarron’s red card (he had been booked late in the first half and was black-carded early in the second) left the Farneymen with a mountain to climb and Killian Lavelle’s sending off sealed their fate.

Vinny Corey’s side now need to beat Mayo in Castlebar and hope Tyrone beat Armagh to avoid relegation.

“It was hard work but it paid off in the second half and when they went two men down - it gave us a wee bit more room,” said Oguz after Tyrone’s eight-point win.

“It was a good win and we needed that and hopefully it makes it a wee bit more manageable now.

“We took the learnings from the Kerry game. The hard work paid off in that game and we just said: ‘That’s what we’re about, that’s our ethos’ and we brought it into this game.

“People were asking questions about us but in the group we know what we’re about and that showed in the tackling today. We got a wee bit of a boost from that and we could drive on and go forward then.”

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