BY RYAN FERRY
All-Ireland u-20 semi-final
Dublin v Tyrone
Tuesday, Croke Park, 3.45pm
Tyrone’s Joe Oguz beamed with delight as he basked in his side’s Ulster Under-20 Championship Final win on the pitch after Saturday’s match against Donegal.
Supporters and well-wishers offered their congratulations at St Tiernach’s Park, as the players queued up for pictures with the Danny Murphy Cup.
Oguz certainly played his part in the triumph but he acknowledged that it was a huge collective effort from the panel.
“It was a tough first half, but we knew we had more to give in the second half.
“Everyone lifted their game and put in a big shift and that was good enough to bring us over the line.”
Tyrone played with the breeze in the first half, but only led by one at the break. Donegal made a fast start after the restart, but Tyrone upped the ante when Oisin Walsh was black-carded, and Oguz felt that was the crucial period in the match.
“Yeah everything was definitely favouring them in the second half and they made a really good start. But that black card really changed the game for us.
“We were able to push up on their kick-outs, and get turnovers from there. We got some important scores and we really kicked on when we needed to.”
A goal from Joe’s Errigal Ciaran clubmate Darragh Canavan’s put Tyrone seven up and they knew at that point, that they would be successful as long as they didn’t concede a goal.
Padraig McGettigan did get a sniff of a three-pointer for Donegal but the excellent Lorcan Quinn was not going to be beaten.
Tyrone’s experience came to the fore, and their game management pleased Oguz.
“We knew that it was ours to lose, and we just had to keep the ball and keep it simple. Donegal are a good side and we knew they would push us the whole way. That’s the way it was but we were in the same position last year. We were aiming to go back-to-back and we’ve got it now.”
Neither side were overly dominant in the midfield exchanges, but in open play, the rangy Oguz was able to use his athleticism to good effect, and he posted two excellent scores.
“It’s not often that I get points now. They went over anyway and that’s all that mattered. We’ll enjoy this but focus then for Paddy’s Day.”
The Errigal Ciaran player was part of the Tyrone Under 20 team that were beaten by Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final last year.
The Red Hands were seven points up at one stage, but weren’t helped by a red card to Oguz midway through the second half in that encounter, and the Rebels went on to win by two.
That was a difficult defeat to stomach, but Tyrone will look to put things right when they face Dublin, who won the Leinster title on Friday night, in the last four.
“ It’s Dublin in Croke Park and that is going to be tough. They were very impressive against Laois, there’s no doubt about that.
“But we know we can put in a big shift and hopefully we can do it. We had more to give in the semi-final last year but came up short. We know we can go one better this time.”