Thursday 14 December 2017

Moyna hits out after McElhinney misses DCU's Royals rout

SLIGO'S David Kelly was the goal-scoring hero, but manager Niall Moyna was the headline-maker as DCU advanced to their third decider in four years at Pairc Tailteann on Saturday.

The high-profile students' boss launched a scathing attack on Donegal manager Jim McGuinness after star midfielder Martin McElhinney was forced to miss this semi-final tie.

Moyna claimed that McElhinney was threatened with expulsion from the county panel if he didn't make himself available for a challenge match earlier in the day.

"We lost Martin McElhinney this morning; his manager called him and threatened he'd throw him off the panel if he didn't go and play a game today against Monaghan. He went up to Clones to play and did his ankle in the warm-up," Moyna said.

"I think it's appalling that an inter-county manager would take a guy in the week of his examinations and demand that he go to play a game and threaten to throw him off the panel on the day that he is playing a semi-final."

Moyna also said they had tried to contact McGuinness, but he hadn't returned their calls. McGuinness was unavailable for comment last night, despite efforts by the Irish Independent to contact him.

"He's one of our key players and we may not have him for the Sigerson now," said Moyna. "We only knew at 5.15pm when the bus was leaving that he wouldn't be playing."

The McElhinney saga overshadowed an excellent display from a star-filled students' outfit, who dominated after corner-forward Kelly pounced for his side's opening goal on 16 minutes. Meath, who had the advantage of the wind in the opening half, started in promising fashion following points from Tom Walsh and Paddy Gilsenan.

However, the hosts only managed one further point for the remainder of the half, also from Gilsenan, as DCU eventually led 1-3 to 0-3 at the break.

Current All Star Paul Flynn continued his rehabilitation following a hamstring injury by coming on as a first-half substitute.

However, the game was over as a contest as the lead stretched 2-5 to 0-3 by the 44th minute when Kelly punished slackness in the Meath defence by finishing to the net from close range. Graham Reilly converted a free for Meath's opening score of the half. Dean Rock and Colm Begley added further DCU points, while Meath's only score of the half from play came from Stephen Bray.

SCORERS -- DCU: D Kelly 2-1, D Rock (2f), C Begley (1f) 0-3 each, J Brady 0-1. Meath: P Gilsenan (1f), G Reilly (2f) 0-2 each, T Walsh, S Bray 0-1 each.

DCU -- M Boyle; P McMahon, K Gavin, E Culligan; J McCarthy, J Cooper, N Collins; F O Curraoin, C Begley; F O'Shea, D Rock, G Sweeney; J Brady, E O'Gara, D Kelly. Subs: P Flynn for O'Shea (24), D Keenan for Sweeney (57), C Cafferky for Culligan (57), P Dooney for Cooper (65), D Smith for Kelly (67).

MEATH -- D Gallagher; G O'Brien, B Menton, M Burke; C McGuinness, S McAnarney, C O'Connor; M Ward, C Gillespie; B Meade, G Reilly, D Tobin; P Gilsenan, T Walsh, S Bray. Subs: K Reilly for Ward (29), S Kenny for Tobin (h-t), C Lenehan for McGuinness (48), D Smyth for Gillespie (60).

REF -- D Fahy (Longford).

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