Oguz: We’ve always kept confidence

By Alan Rodgers

YET another mouthwatering trip for Tyrone into the heart of Kerry brings with it the promise of one more victory to further consolidate the Division One status of the Red Hands.

Last Saturday’s win over Mayo has the potential to transform Tyrone’s future fortunes in the remainder of the National League. But as they prepare for a trip to Croke Park to meet All-Ireland champions, Dublin, in round seven and then Monaghan in round eight, there is still a degree of pressure.

Tyrone have enjoyed numerous tough tussles against the Kingdom in both Tralee and Killarney over the years. But with things now at a critical stages, this latest clash is one of real importance.

As the campaign reaches its climax, then, the prospect of producing a big display to defeat the Kingdom on their home patch is a real incentive. But they will be meeting opponents still reeling from their comprehensive defeat at the hands of the Dubs last Saturday night.

Tyrone’s hand is growing stronger with the return of experienced players such as Kieran McGeary to the side. This, combined with the the growing confidence of the newcomers to the panel, ensures that they certainly won’t be overawed.

Joe Oguz is now an experienced member of the squad. The Errigal Ciaran player’s consistency is crucial, and he’s hoping to make a strong mark against Kerry, and maintainng the moment of that important win against Mayo a week ago.

“It’s great to get back out there proving ourselves again. But there’s a lot of work to be done an we’ve been just returning to the training at Garvaghey to prepare for the Kerry match,” he said.

“Killarney is a very difficult place to go for us in Tyrone. Every game is going to be a big one from now and it’s a case of just taking things week by week and game by game.

“The win over Mayo was brilliant and it’s all over the pitch. We had players pressing the kickout and that set the platform for the rest of the half.

“Our task is to of course keep things going. Nobody’s getting too ahead of themselves and it’s about focusing on the next challenge.”

Of course, Tyrone’s prospects were looking decidedly uncertain at half-time in the match against Mayo. Trailing by three, their performance in the opening period had shown little indication of what was to follow on the resumption.

But the twin attacking threat of Darren McCurry and Darragh Canavan combined with a much more intense effort all over the field made the difference. A magnificent third quarter performance launched them into the lead and they subsequently cruised to the final whistle and two vital points on the Division One table.

“We knew ourselves that we weren’t pressing Mayo hard enough in the first half. Mayo are a great team who will hurt you if you give them space and that’s what was happening,” he added.

“The second half was planned to show what we’re about as a Tyrone team. We wanted to show that Tyrone spirit by pressing forward and showing the determination and thankfully that’s what we did.

“Every week and every game is going to be hard for us. We’re setting our plans now to Kerry and we’ll see what happens.

“This is another big game and you set your stall out if you can go down to somewhere like Killarney and produce a performance.

“We’re not doubting ourselves as a team. We know that there’s great quality together in this team all over the field. All we have to do is pull together as a team and that’s what we did against Mayo. We’ll have to show that for the rest of the year as well now.”

But, with a tough three games remaining in their Division One campaign, the players, management and supporters are hoping that some of the most experienced players will be back in the ranks as the league action reaches its climax.

“Everyone is added something to this team. The young lads coming in and the new players are really adding something to the team. The task now is to make the most of that for the next three matches.”

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