'We might have to make it 15-a-side': Keane says players in for a shock at the size of Pairc Uí Chaoimh pitch

'We might have to make it 15-a-side': Keane says players in for a shock at the size of Pairc Uí Chaoimh pitch
Michael O’Flynn, chairman of the organising committee, and Roy Keane pictured at the announcement in Cork of the full list of players taking part in the Manchester United v Republic of Ireland/Glasgow Celtic selections who will line out in Páirc í Chaoimh on 25 September for the Liam Miller Tribute Match. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Roy Keane revealed today he hadn’t yet told his ex-Manchester United colleagues that the Liam Miller tribute match next month has been moved to Pairc Ui Chaoimh – keeping it as a surprise and hoping they’ll be alarmed by the size of the pitch.

It will be Keane’s second appearance at the home of Cork GAA stadium, after he revealed today he ran there for his primary school, St John’s in the City Sports in his youth. “No I didn’t win,” he smiled.

“I thought I was quick until I went up against lads from other schools.”

A fresh release of match tickets for the increased capacity of Páirc Ui Chaoimh will be launched next Monday with Keane and organising committee chairman Michael O’Flynn – a friend of the Miller family – determined and focused on making the historic occasion a 45,000 sell-out at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

Tickets for the game will go on sale via ticket.ie on Monday next with prices ranging from €10 concession terrace tickets for OAPs and students up to €90 premium level tickets in the South Stand. Those who had purchased tickets for Turner’s Cross will be placed in the south stand.

Keane was in Cork Thursday to announce a stellar line-up for the game on September 25 with the likes of Denis Irwin, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand confirmed for the United legends side. The Celtic/Republic of Ireland combination will feature the likes of Robbie Keane, Damien Duff, Andy Reid, Richard Dunne, Stylian Petrov and Neil Lennon.

“They want to pay their respects to Liam, it’s been a very good response from the players,” Keane said.

“A lot of these lads do play regularly, in charity games and legends games. One or two might struggle, maybe myself and Denis Irwin will play 45 minutes.

“I think we’re delighted it’s down the Pairc. It gives supporters more of a chance to watch the game. We were slightly restricted capacity-wise at Turner’s Cross, but I have to say Cork City have been superb. It’s a great occasion for Cork and for the Miller family.

The players probably don’t realise how big the pitch is down in Pairc Ui Chaoimh, so some of the players are in for a shock. We might have to make it 15-a-side!

Keane added: “Cork’s a great sporting city and county, and Pairc Uí Chaoimh now gives supporters from all over Ireland a chance to come and watch the game. I know if I was a supporter I’d want to watch players like Denis Irwin and Giggsy.” Indeed, Roy admitted that he’d still pay to watch his fellow Cork man Irwin, rating him as a world-class defender.

“There’s some brilliant players there. Obviously, they’re past their peaks a lot of them. But on paper, you look at the two squads and it’s impressive. It’ll be nice to see Robbie Keane and all these lads turning up. The Irish lads are slightly younger, but hopefully, our experience will tell!”

Chairman of the organising committee, Michael O’Flynn – who is a lifelong member of the Eire Og GAA club Liam Miller grew up playing with, confirmed also: “There will be GAA element at half-time. We’ll have boys and girls from Eire Og. It’ll be very interesting to see that as a half-time piece.

“It’ll be something truly unique and the Eire Og club is delighted to be involved.”

Roy Keane’s Man Utd squad: Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Ronny Johnsen, Paul Scholes, Denis Irwin, David May, Louis Saha, Rio Ferdinand, Quinton Fortune, Andy Cole, Michael Clegg, Mikael Silvestre, Kevin Pilkington, Dion Dublin, Gary Neville, Alan Smith.

Celtic/Republic of Ireland squad: David Forde, Stephen Carr, Kevin Kilbane, Richard Dunne, Kenny Cunningham, Keith Andrews, Kevin Doyle, Stephen McPhail, Andy Reid, Robbie Keane, Damien Duff, Lee Carsley, Colin Healy, Shaun Maloney, Paul Lambert, John Hartson, Neil Lennon, Stylian Petrov, Shane Supple.

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