By Joe Leogue
Tickets for the eagerly anticipated tribute match for the family of the late Liam Miller will go on sale on Friday morning at 10am, it was confirmed today.
The former Manchester United, Celtic, and Cork City player passed away earlier this year at the age of 36 and was buried in his native Ovens, Co Cork.
A galaxy of stars including Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, Denis Irwin, Quinton Fortune, Louis Saha and Rio Ferdinand will take to the pitch at Turners Cross on Tuesday, September 25 where their Manchester United XI will take on a combined Celtic and Ireland XI.
Details of the ticket sales were revealed at a launch at City Hall today, attended by Roy Keane, Cork City manager John Caulfield, Cork Lord Mayor Mick Finn, and developer Michael O’Flynn, who is a family friend of the Miller family and chairman of the organising committee.
Roy Keane, Michael O'Flynn, Cork Lord Mayor Mick Finn, and John Caulfield at the launch of the Liam Miller tribute match. Tickets go on sale on Friday at 10am. #iestaff via @JoeLeogue pic.twitter.com/1eC1rO6z41— Irish Examiner (@irishexaminer) July 18, 2018
“I think United is a very important word,” Lord Mayor Finn said.
“I think we were all united in grief following Liam’s passing - none moreso than his family, Claire and the kids, his parents, and the community in Ovens and Ballincollig - but I think we’re also united in support for this event which will help his family,” he said.
Mr O’Flynn thanked City Hall, Manchester United, Celtic, Cork City FC, and Roy Keane, Martin O’Neill and the FAI for their support in putting together the event.
#RoyKeane at the launch of the Liam Miller tribute events which take place on September 25th. Tickets for the match will go on sale Friday @TicketmasterIre @mickfinn01 @CorkCityFC @RyanGiggs_cc @rioferdy5 @paulscholes pic.twitter.com/JoD7R8buZr— Cork City Council (@corkcitycouncil) July 18, 2018
“I think it is going to be a unique Cork day in terms of support, in terms of honouring the family and a great Corkman, and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who is involved, particularly Roy because he has been hugely supportive from the outset,” he said.
“It’s been incredibly uplifting to be involved in something like this and get the support of so many people so willingly,” Mr O’Flynn said.
Mr Keane said there was no hesitation from the players who were asked to play the special match.
“It was very straightforward,” he said.
Tickets for the Liam Miller Memorial match go on sale Friday morning on Ticketmaster. Roy will tog out as Man United legends XI player-manager, with Martin O'Neill managing the Celtic/Ireland legends XI. Confirmed: Rio Ferdinand, Giggsy, Scholesy, Irwin, Saha and many more. pic.twitter.com/dIbemuLJzq— Cork's RedFM Sport (@BigRedBench) July 18, 2018
The organisers confirmed that an approach was made with a view to hosting the match at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, but that this would require a rule change at GAA congress which won’t be held until next spring.
Mr O’Flynn stressed, however, that Cork County Board were very receptive to their approaches and offered Pairc Ui Chaoimh’s conferencing facilities free of charge.
Sir Alex Ferguson was to manage the Manchester United XI before his recent health problems - meaning Keane will step into the dugout and face his boss, Martin O’Neill, who will take the helm at the Ireland/Celtic XI.
While the match is an opportunity for old friends to reunite, Keane says once they cross the white line, both sides will want to win.
“It’s always nice for ex-players to get together as well, obviously we know we have to remember Liam, but it’s nice to get together with ex-teammates. I know Martin is looking forward to meeting some of the Irish lads, people like Robbie and a few Celtic players as well, so we’re all looking forward to it.
“You talk about ex-players, you know the madness of it is a player’s pride kicks in when we get together so it should be a good battle.
Tickets for the Liam Miller Tribute Match go on sale on Ticketmaster this Friday at 10am. For more information see liammillertribute.com
More on this story in tomorrow’s Irish Examiner.