Almost 25,000 tickets have been sold for tomorrow's benefit game in support of Sean Cox at the Aviva Stadium.
Tickets will remain available on Ticketmaster.ie until 7.15pm tomorrow, half an hour before kick-off between the Republic of Ireland Legends and Liverpool Legends.
All proceeds from the game will go to aid Sean’s recovery from the life-changing injuries he sustained when he was attacked outside Anfield ahead of the Liverpool v Roma Champions League semi-final last April.
This morning, he addressed the public for the first time since the assault to say thanks for their support.
Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has been delighted by the fans' support of the game and is encouraging more to snap up tickets to make a success of the night.
“I am delighted that so many Ireland and Liverpool fans have already bought tickets for this game,” said McCarthy.
“I met with Sean’s wife Martina and their son Jack recently and I was really touched by their story and by Martina’s desire to do everything she can for Sean and for her family.
“Nobody should go to a football match like Sean did that night at Anfield and suffer these horrendous injuries. It is just not right and I am happy that we are all doing our bit to help out at the Aviva Stadium on Friday night.
“It struck me talking to Martina just how many lives have been changed by what happened that night at Anfield. The day we met, Jack had done just passed his driving test and Sean should have been there to celebrate the occasion with him.
“Of course I asked Martina how Sean is doing but I also asked her how she and the children are coping with this. It is not easy for anyone involved in this story and it just highlights the foibles and failings of life and shows how none of us can take anything for granted.
“This is one of those occasions when the football family really stands up to be counted. We support our own in times of distress and trouble and I know how much everyone wants Friday’s game to succeed.
“My Ireland captain Seamus Coleman has led by example and I would ask all football supporters, not just Ireland and Liverpool fans, to follow suit.”
McCarthy will be picking from many of his old favourites from his first tenure as manager, with current Ireland assistant coach Robbie Keane set to renew his partnership with Niall Quinn up front.
“I saw Robbie’s goal for the Spurs Legends against Inter Milan at the opening of the new Tottenham stadium. It was offside by the way but he swears different!” joked McCarthy
“I only have him for one half on Friday night but I am keen to partner him with Niall Quinn again. They didn’t do too badly for us over the years.”
Fellow Anfield favourites Ronnie Whelan, John Aldridge, Jason McAteer, Ray Houghton, and Phil Babb will play for both sides.
Kenny Dalglish will lead a Liverpool squad that includes Steve McManaman, Robbie Fowler, Sami Hypia, and Ian Rush.
Sean's wife Martina has said tomorrow's game will be the first time her husband will be out in public since the attack.
“He’s going to be there which is great, I didn’t think it would happen a couple of months ago,” Mrs Cox she said yesterday.
“It’s a big milestone for us. He has been out of hospital for a couple of hours before, but this is him out in the public arena for the first time.
“It will be quite overwhelming for Sean. He’s been home but literally only in our house, and he’s been with family.
“At the beginning (after the attack) we didn’t know how things were going to pan out, so to have him at the match is really significant.
“Particular so for his brother Martin, because he travelled with him that day and they never got to see the match. It’s great for all of the family.”
- Additional reporting by PA