Miller tribute match sells out 45,000-capacity Páirc Uí Chaoimh

Páirc Uí Chaoimh GAA stadium in Cork will have a full house of 45,000 for the Liam Miller benefit soccer match on September 25. The fixture is now sold out.

Miller tribute match sells out 45,000-capacity Páirc Uí Chaoimh

By Olivia Kelleher

Páirc Uí Chaoimh GAA stadium in Cork will have a full house of 45,000 for the Liam Miller benefit soccer match on September 25. The fixture is now sold out.

Michael O’Flynn, chairman of the organising committee, thanked the public.

“It’s a ringing endorsement of the GAA’s decision to donate the use of their stadium and we thank them wholeheartedly,” he said.

“This will be a unique sporting occasion in Cork, not only because of the calibre of the soccer stars who will be taking part, but also because it will feature both soccer and GAA sports at the same time. It will be a fantastic tribute to Liam Miller, who was one of Cork’s sporting heroes and a great celebration of sport in Cork.”

The organisers have received interest from television stations about the possibility of televising the fixture.Mr O’Flynn said they are exploring their broadcasting options.

“I am currently awaiting a decision from Manchester United, who have rights over any games like this,” he said.

“MUTV consider televising all games that Manchester United are involved in. I have had a number of approaches. Some are Irish-based. More are from the UK side.”

Mr O’Flynn said Liam Miller was from a quiet, unassuming family who were dealt an enormous blow with his passing from cancer earlier this year. He said the support for the match had helped the family hugely on their “extraordinary journey”.

Páirc Uí Chaoimh
Páirc Uí Chaoimh

“It [the support] is testament to Liam. When I set about arranging this, and I spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson, initially, and Roy Keane and Graham Barrett and John O’Shea, every one of them were enthusiastic about doing it, because of Liam. Because of the personality and the person.

“I couldn’t get over Sir Alex’s reaction when I met him first. He was absolutely positive from the word go.”

Mr O’Flynn has appealed to companies in Cork to give employees the opportunity to leave work for the match.

Separately, the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mick Finn, is waiting to hear back from Education Minister Richard Bruton after he asked his permission to give school children in Cork a half-day to coincide with the match.

The game is due to take place on a Tuesday, at 3pm, and the Lord Mayor said it is important that children be given the opportunity to attend.

Cllr Finn said people should not be “penalised for supporting a charity event”.

“All I am asking for is for the minister to give the schools an option,” Cllr Finn said.

A number of teachers were on to me, saying it was a great idea. Michael and his committee deserve credit. It is going to be a fantastic day for Cork, and for the family.

The match will see Manchester United Legends XI take on Celtic/Republic of Ireland legends. Proceeds will go to the family of Liam Miller, Marymount Hospice, and other charities in the city.

The Manchester United legends team, which will be managed by Roy Keane, will include Ryan Giggs, Louis Saha, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, and Nicky Butt.

The Celtic/Ireland legends line up, which will be managed by Martin O’Neill, will feature Robbie Keane, Damien Duff, Neil Lennon, Kevin Kilbane, and Richard Dunne.

At a press briefing last week, Roy Keane said the match was an opportunity to honour Liam.

Liam is still our teammate. And that is why the response has been fantastic. We are all looking forward to it.

The former Republic of Ireland, Manchester United, Celtic, and Cork city player passed away in February, having fought a battle against oesophageal cancer. The 36-year-old is survived by his wife, Clare, his children Kory, Leo, and Belle, his parents, Billy and Bridie, and his extended family.

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