herald

Thursday 21 September 2017

McGuinness defends his handling of McElhinney

JIM McGuinness has rejected DCU manager Niall Moyna's accusations of abuse of players in his handling of Martin McElhinney.

Moyna slammed the Donegal manager for calling DCU student McElhinney to Clones for a challenge match on Saturday morning, the same day as the university's O'Byrne Cup semi-final clash with Meath.

McElhinney, who is in the middle of studying for his final exams, was injured in the warm-up and was forced to miss both games and Moyna claimed he had been threatened with exclusion from the Donegal panel by McGuinness had he failed to show in Clones.

"He (Moyna) is criticising us for having Martin in Clones during his exams but, on the other hand, he is saying he would have been playing in Navan that night if he hadn't been with Donegal earlier on. It's nonsense really," insisted McGuinness.

"It's pure nonsense. We weren't the ones who switched dates -- that happened when the O'Byrne Cup semi-final was brought forward from Sunday to Saturday.

"I met the Donegal squad in the first week in January and put up a spreadsheet of all the dates. We had looked at the schedules for the McKenna Cup, O'Byrne Cup and FBD Leagues and worked our own plans around them.



Anxious

"Because of the involvement of colleges players in those competitions, we were anxious to avoid any clash and at that stage, last Saturday was free. Later on, the Meath-DCU O'Byrne Cup semi-final was brought forward, so what were we to do?"

McGuinness added that the clash was symptomatic of the wider problem for county managers who have limited access to their third-level players prior to the commencement of the Allianz Leagues.

"The colleges have the players from October, while the county managers don't get them until January 1. Counties are asked to play without the college players in January. How can you get a team ready for the National League when you have so few available dates to get your squad together in January?"

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