Organisers of the highly anticipated tribute match to Liam Miller made an unsuccessful attempt to host the occasion at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in a bid to meet the huge demand for tickets.
A host of former Manchester United, Celtic, and Republic of Ireland stars are set to play the tribute match in aid of the family of the late Corkman at Turner’s Cross on Tuesday, September 25.
The match will be followed by a black tie gala dinner at Cork City Hall, where the tribute was officially launched yesterday. Details of the event were revealed by Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane, Cork Lord Mayor Mick Finn, Cork City FC manager John Caulfield, and developer Michael O’Flynn, a family friend of the Millers and chairman of the organising committee.
While tickets go on sale tomorrow and are expected to sell out in minutes for the match at the 7,000-capacity Turner’s Cross, it emerged there had been efforts to host it in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, which can hold 45,000 since its €80m redevelopment, €30m of which came from public funds.
“Turner’s Cross stadium will be packed to capacity, the tickets are going to fly out the door tomorrow,” said Mr Finn. “One pity is that we didn’t have the use of a bigger venue in the city. I know attempts were made to get Páirc Uí Chaoimh, which is a pity, but I have no doubt that the Cork public will row in behind this and it will be a fantastic event.
“I think it has to go before Congress, [to use] every pitch outside Croke Park. They have approval for Croke Park I think generally, and every other facility has to go before Congress which isn’t until next February, so it just wasn’t an option.
“They have offered their premium facilities free of charge, conscious of the fact that Liam played with Éire Óg, and captained his school to a Sciath na Scol final in ’93.
“They are making those facilities available if required, but unfortunately, on this occasion, it was just too soon for it to be organised.”
Mr O’Flynn said the Cork County Board were receptive, “but there is a rule there that they can’t change”.
“Cork County Board were receptive, but Croke Park and the GAA can’t do anything about this while that rule is there. As the lord mayor said, it has to go before Congress.
“Of course we would love to have had a bigger stadium, but we were keen to have it in Cork. Roy and I discussed this a number of times. It will be a great Cork event. I want to stress that they were receptive, but there isn’t anything that could be done about it.”
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