Thursday 23 November 2017

War of words

Furious McGuinness hits back at Moyna

JIM McGuinness yesterday lashed back at Niall Moyna as their war of words escalated to nuclear levels.

In a wide-ranging riposte, the Donegal manager accused his DCU counterpart of attempting to defame him after Moyna's accusations of bullying by McGuinness of Martin McElhinney last week.

The Glenties man went on to make a counter-claim that Moyna had forced the three Donegal players on his Sigerson Cup panel (McElhinney, Michael Murphy and Michael Boyle) to travel from Donegal to attend a training session in Dublin in early January when all three were injured.

"We had a meeting in Letterkenny on the second of January and in that meeting we put up the spreadsheet in relation to the fixtures and when we wanted the players in relation to the colleges," McGuinness explained.


"We were transparent in that.

"Michael Murphy had the 'flu. Martin McElhinney had a sore foot. Martin Boyle had a vomiting bug. DCU were training the following day. The boys were home the next day.

"Niall Moyna forced the players up to Dublin the next day. He told them they had to be there the next day. The boys got into the car at eight o'clock the following morning.

"They stood on the sideline when the rest of the boys were training. They watched the training session, they got back into the car and they drove back to Donegal. Tell me where the welfare of the player is there."


McGuinness added: "There is an undercurrent that if we help you through admissions and we put you up in digs and we pay your fees, that there is an ownership situation."

The initial row sparked to life two weekends ago when McElhinney was injured in the warm-up prior to a challenge match for Donegal against Monaghan in Clones, the same day as DCU's scheduled Sigerson Cup semi-final with Meath in Navan.

Moyna blasted McGuinness after the match, accusing him of issuing an ultimatum to the player of either playing against Monaghan or giving up his place on the squad, an allegation McGuinness forcibly refuted.

"I made the point to Martin when I rang him -- and this is why I have been castigated by DCU -- asking my player the question, 'If I can't see you, how can I play you?'

"Is that an unfair question to ask a player in the lead-in to a National League game? He (Moyna) called me a bully over that, for asking my player, 'If I don't see you, how can I play you?'

"It's a disgraceful accusation. It's totally unfounded.

"I'm a young man and a young manager.

"Things like that should not be fired out there against me for point-scoring."

According to McGuinness, Moyna implied in an interview last weekend that the decision for Murphy to have an operation on his Gilmore's Groin condition had come from the county manager, an issue which McGuinness insisted was the real root of Moyna's fury.

"The one thing that I worked on as a result of the article on Saturday was I got to the reason why he came out so strongly against me with Martin McElhinney.

"And the reason was, Michael Murphy and the injury, Michael Murphy missing the Sigerson. That's the real issue.

"He's trying to suggest that I made the call on the operation for Michael Murphy. I can tell you this now: I don't even make the call on who goes out onto the training pitch.

"My physios and my doctors make the call. I can never tell you who is going to come out of the medical room. That's how removed I am from the medical setup.

"I never spoke to (surgeon) Gerry McEntee on Michael Murphy's injury. Only our doctor spoke to Gerry McEntee. We got the scan for Michael and the consultation and what's more, the DCU doctor, Noel McCaffrey, sat in on that consultation.

"It says in the article 'McGuinness got his way.' Like I'm sitting in Gerry McEntee's office saying 'Gerry, you've got to do the operation'. Am I above a surgeon now?

"It's wrong. And it's allegations being thrown out into the media in the hope that some of it is going to stick. It's point scoring and it's trying to defame me."


McGuinness also intimated that there may yet be a route back into the Donegal panel for the vanquished Kevin Cassidy, but he refused to go into detail about their fallout over breaches of confidence last year from the Gweedore man.

Referencing Adrian Hanlon, who was dropped from the squad during the summer for breaking squad rules but is now back in the panel, McGuinness insisted, "The same criteria apply."

He also hit out at some pundits, who he said were "making an awful lot of money on the back of people who are out of work and trying their best for their county in a voluntary capacity. Morally, I don't think that's correct".

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