By Larry Ryan
He was a star — even in his street clothes.
Details have emerged of the day Liam Miller scored 4-2 in an underage Gaelic football trial for Cork — without any gear.
The late Republic of Ireland soccer international turned up in Cloughduv in 1996 to watch a Cork U16 trial in which his friend was playing.
Liam had no gear with him but with the Cork management initially short one player for a full-scale match, he was asked to take part and was put in at corner-forward for the ‘whites’.
Some famous footballing names played in the game, including future Cork All-Ireland-winning captain Graham Canty, who was anchoring the opposition defence.
But a notebook recording the scoring in the game underlines Miller’s versatility as a sportsman — he notched four goals and two points.
Michael O’Flynn, chairman of the committee organising next month’s tribute match for Miller at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, takes up the story: “He had no gear. But he was the pick of the 30-odd players on the day apparently.”
Unfortunately for Cork, they weren’t allowed to select Miller for the Munster Championship panel because he was still underage for the grade.
“A lot of people though in our parish and parishes in Mid Cork remember him as an exceptional GAA player,” says O’Flynn, also a member of the Éire Óg club.
“I saw him playing with Éire Óg myself as a 14 and 15-year-old. He would have played in the red jersey in both codes. It is fascinating how good he was at this age.”
A year earlier Miller represented the Cork U14 hurlers against Waterford, playing alongside future All-Ireland winners such as Tom Kenny (pictured).
But he left Cork aged 19 to begin his soccer career with Glasgow Celtic, before later playing for Manchester United, Sunderland and Cork City among others.
His life will be honoured in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Tuesday, September 25, in a game between a Manchester United legends team and a Republic of Ireland/Celtic selection. Tickets go on sale at 10am this morning on tickets.ie.
Miller played once in the famous stadium, winning a Sciath na Scol title with Ovens National School.