Update: Cork City goalkeeper gets late call-up for Liam Miller match

Update: Cork City goalkeeper gets late call-up for Liam Miller match
Cork City FC kitman Mick Ring, who is the Manchester United kitman for the Liam Miller tribute match against the Celtic/Republic of Ireland XI at Páirc Uí Chaoimh today, shows off some of the legendary names that will grace the pitch in aid of their former teammate. Picture: Eddie O’Hare

Update - 11.52am: Cork City goalkeeper Mark McNulty has got a late call-up for today’s game, writes Denis Hurley.

Former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carroll is unable to line out for the Red Devils against the combined Republic of Ireland and Celtic selection.

So McNulty – who played on the same Ballincollig underage teams as Miller, with his father Mick a key influence on the midfielder’s career – will be between the sticks.

Adrian Ryan of Sports Gear Direct on Tramore Road was on hand to do a late printing job, applying McNulty’s name and the number 1 to the blue United goalkeeper’s shirt yesterday, and the netminder will be in opposition to another former Ballincollig and City team-mate of Miller’s, Colin Healy, who also played with him at Celtic.

Earlier: Fans urged not to flood the pitch at end of Liam Miller match

Fans are urged not to flood the pitch after the Liam Miller match in Cork today with organisers stressing that the footballers involved will do a lap of honour at the conclusion of the fixture, writes Olivia Kelleher.

Organiser of the match at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Michael O'Flynn, says they cannot have fans coming on to the pitch.

Mr O'Flynn said: "I hope that is understood by the public. I just would like to say they will be doing a lap of honour. That is only fair to the people in the terraces as well. We can't have people coming on to the pitch."

The property developer said if the match concludes with a draw, a penalty shoot-out will follow, which would be "an interesting event in itself" according to Mr O'Flynn.

He thanked the gardaí and the GAA for their assistance in the run-up the match particularly given that event planning isn't his usual line of work. He also thanked the City Council, local residents and the Fire Brigade for their help.

Update: Cork City goalkeeper gets late call-up for Liam Miller match

"I think the spirit of the day has resonated with everyone. It is a charity day. It has been embraced by all as such."

President Michael D Higgins will be a guest of honour at the match with the longest-serving captain in the history of Manchester United, Bryan Robson, also travelling to Cork for the occasion.

Mr O'Flynn said it promises to be a very special day on Leeside not only for locals but for the players themselves.

"Bryan Robson is attending on behalf of Manchester United and there is a contingent from Celtic as well. Sir Alex gave us a nice note for the programme. I think (the big names) are intrigued by the situation.

People like Denis Irwin and Roy Keane from our home city are delighted with the opportunity to play as they say 'in the park' that is what it is known locally. They are looking forward to it."

Music will be provided today by Christy Dignam, Darragh McGann and the Barrack Street band.

Gardaí have advised ticket holders to allow themselves plenty of time to attend the event. Sgt John Quilter said the key goal for today is to have a "safe family free event" at the stadium.

"There will be delays in leaving the stadium and we would ask patrons leaving the stadium to be patient. We believe the peak traffic congestion will take place between five o clock and seven pm. We are encouraging people to walk to the ground or to take the shuttle bus from Lapp's Quay. No parking will be allowed closer to the stadium."

Earlier: Stars begin to arrive for Liam Miller tribute match in Páirc Uí Chaoimh

The stars have begun to arrive for Liam Miller's Tribute match in Cork.

Giggsy and a few others were pictured at Cork Airport this morning ahead of today's 3pm game at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Earlier: Alex Ferguson reveals how an 'assured' Liam Miller distracted him from transfer target Vincent Kompany

By Tony Leen and Joe Leogue

Alex Ferguson has revealed how he was “smitten” with Liam Miller’s midfield intelligence the first time he saw the Cork man play.

The legendary Manchester United manager travelled to Glasgow 15 years ago to run the rule over then-Anderlecht defender Vincent Kompany in a Champions League game at Celtic — but came away on the night “totally determined” to get Miller to move from Glasgow to Manchester.

Many of his old Manchester United are in Cork today to pay tribute to Miller, who passed away earlier this year aged just 36.

Ferguson continues to recover from a brain haemorrhage suffered last May and has accepted that today’s tribute match — which he has been actively involved with since its inception — has come a little too soon for him to travel to Cork.

Fergie expressed “considerable disappointment” he will not be in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, writing in the match programme.

Circumstances and advice from those who know better than I have decreed I stay put,” he said.

However, in recalling the circumstances in which Miller joined United 14 years ago, Ferguson revealed the intriguing details behind the move.

“When I went to the Celtic v Anderlecht Champions League tie in Glasgow in November 2003, it was to watch the Belgian defender Vincent Kompany,” he said. “However, my attention soon gravitated to Celtic’s energetic young midfielder, slight of stature but with an assured, calm way about him. What I witnessed was a player with a tremendous set of midfield fundamentals — his movement off the ball, his penetration of the Anderlecht midfield. I came away smitten by his performance, not least the timing of his runs. Leaving Parkhead I was totally determined to get Liam Miller to Manchester United.”

Fergie admitted United’s pursuit of Miller did not go down well at Parkhead, bringing about a “short period of unease and discontent between the two clubs. Fortunately, that was short-lived.”

Ferguson added: “Liam Miller’s legacy as a human being was that he was totally liked by everyone for his quiet, endearing nature.”

Meanwhile, organisers are encouraging attendees to come early to Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the tribute match. Gates open at 12.45pm with pre-match musical entertainment ahead of the 3pm kickoff.

A gala dinner at City Hall will start with a drinks reception at 6.45pm. An auction is set to raise thousands more by the end of bidding tonight. Offers are already coming in for concert tickets, luxury breaks, matchday experiences, and memorabilia signed by football stars including Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham, John Giles, and Rory McIlroy.

The bidding for the ‘Ultimate VIP experience’ from Manchester United had already reached €2,700. It includes a private tour of Old Trafford and United’s training ground, a meet-and-greet with the players, full hospitality in one of the club’s premium suites, and matchday seats in the directors’ box in the Bobby Charlton Stand. Bidders can register online via galabid.com/liam or through SMS by texting “liam” followed by your full name to 086 1800308.

The online auction will conclude tonight at 10.30pm.

This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.

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