UCD has set the bar for this year, says Moyna

Long-serving DCU manager Niall Moyna. Credit: Sportsfile

DCU manager Niall Moyna has come out in full praise of University College Dublin following their triumphant Ryan Cup Final win over his side at Parnell Park last week.

Following a steady flow of opening exchanges that at one point saw DCU run into a 0-6 to 0-3 lead early on, UCD blew the Glasnevin side away with two quickfire goals before half-time from Pádraic Harnan and Dublin forward Paul Mannion.

Not offering any array of excuses, the DCU manager was quick to highlight UCD’s superiority on the night.

“They’re just a fantastic team, they’ve a lot of young players and physically they outclassed us – UCD is just a fantastic football team and you have to hand it to them,” he said.

“They had given us a hiding already so that’s two hidings from UCD this year. They’re a great team and they’ve set the bar for this year.”

With those two first half goals ultimately killing off any chance of a DCU win in this year’s league final, Moyna asserted that they were poor goals to concede and that they decided the game.

“The one just before half-time (scored by Pádraic Harnan) was very disappointing to concede because obviously we were trying to hold them and we might have been able to make a go of it in the second half.

“To be fair UCD took the foot off the pedal in the second half and it allowed our lads to be more engaged than they were in the first half, but that’s football.”

Moyna admitted that at no stage in the second half was a comeback on the cards despite DCU pulling the scoreline back to within two goals, noting the power and quality of their opponents’ defensive solidity throughout the game.

“I just felt UCD could have gone into a higher gear at any stage in the second half. It was just one of those things, it didn’t work out for us on the night and you have to hand it to their defence.

“They have a phenomenal full-back line and they were very, very hard to penetrate. So you can look for all the excuses you want but you look at the opposition and you can see that’s the bar for this year. UCD are very, very hard to beat.”

Moyna’s side will now go into the Winter break knowing the standard they are up against if they are to successfully defend their Sigerson crown.

“We’ve a very young team so you’ve got to let young players find their feet. Obviously you can’t be successful every year, and you have to build so we’re letting players see what the standard is and the goals you have to attain to be able to play at an elite Sigerson level.

“I think we were lucky to get to this final. We had a very easy route. I think we got Maynooth on a bad night and it was a 50/50 game against UCC, so in many ways we fell into the final. We probably didn’t deserve to be there and we got our just reward for it.”

Aaron Gallagher

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