D.C.U manager, Niall Moyna has severely criticized Donegal boss Jim McGuinness and accused him of “abuse of players”, resulting from a pre-match ankle injury sustained by Martin McElhinney as Donegal warmed up to play Monaghan in a Clones challenge game on Saturday evening.
Moyna was deeply unimpressed – and clearly frustrated – that McGuinness had chosen McElhinney (currently studying for his exams at D.C.U ) especially as D.C.U had given him time off to study, before their own Bord na Mona O’Byrne Cup clash with Meath.
Moyna told RTÉ Radio: “Martin is in the middle of his examinations at the moment. I spoke to Martin this morning before we left, but I only found out at 5:15pm that the management team at Donegal demanded that he go play a challenge game against Monaghan today.
“What annoys me is not so much that he had to play the game, but that it is in the middle of his examinations when we have purposefully given him time off. So he lost the whole day, went up to Clones, and turned on his ankle in the warm-up, and we didn’t have him tonight”.
“He wouldn’t have played tonight ,for DCU, if we had known he had played today for Donegal , and I think there is something wrong there. We talk about player welfare and that is abuse of players.
“I understand the pressure that inter-county managers are under, but to ask a player to go play a game the same day they knew he had a semi-final that evening and in the week that he is studying for his exams is an important issue that needs to be addressed.”
Moyna feels that GAA HQ officials must now again look into the issue of player welfare and wants to speak to McGuinness about McElhinney’s selection.
“I didn’t get the chance to talk to Jim McGuinness and I would like to. Martin was extremely upset and really the players are a pawn in this. Martin McElhinney hasn’t signed a contract with anyone.
“I don’t own him and Jim McGuinness does not own him. He is an amateur player, playing in an amateur organisation, trying to get an education and we should be facilitating that.”
In addition to his role of GAA Manager (and club President ) at DCU, Professor Moyna is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a graduate of Thomond College (University of Limerick)who received his masters degree from Purdue University, Indiana, USA and Ph.D.from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Moyna has been actively involved in ensuring that DCU is recognised as one of the leading third level sporting institutions in Ireland – providing excellent sporting facilities, academic programmes, sport development programmes, elite athlete scholarship programmes and the DCU Sports Academy.
The DCU Sports Academy supports approx. 140 athletes each year and is Ireland’s largest elite athlete development programme. It is dedicated to providing top Irish athletes from the sports of Gaelic Football and Athletics with an opportunity to train and compete at the highest level while obtaining a top academic qualification.