GAA promise to consider hosting Liam Miller tribute match at Pairc Ui Chaoimh

GAA top brass spent two hours discussing the proposal with organisers at a meeting described as “open and constructive”

Liam  Miller was capped 21 times by the Republic of Ireland. Photograph: Inpho

Liam Miller was capped 21 times by the Republic of Ireland. Photograph: Inpho

 

The GAA have agreed to consider further a proposal that the Liam Miller Tribute Match be played at the €80 million newly developed Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

The decision follows a meeting with the organising committee which both sides have described as “open and constructive”.

GAA president, John Horan and director general, Tom Ryan, along with Cork county board chairperson, Tracey Kennedy and Cork county secretary, Frank Murphy met with the organisers of the fund raising match for almost two hours at Croke Park on Tuesday afternoon.

The Liam Miller tribute match organising committee was represented by its chair, Cork developer, Michael O’Flynn, former Arsenal player and football agent, Graham Barrett, who was a close friend of Liam Miller, and Ciaran Medlar, partner and head of tax at BDO Ireland.

Afterwards both sides issued a joint statement in which they said that “both sides agreed the meeting was open and constructive and the GAA will now further consider the proposal discussed at the meeting”.

Both sides declined to comment further and have given no indication of how long the GAA intend to consider the proposal or when they intended to meet again with the organising committee.

Meanwhile, The Irish Times understands that behind the scenes, moves are continuing with senior Government and opposition figures working hard to persuade the GAA to make the Cork ground available, particularly in light of the GAA getting €30 million in state aid to redevelop the grounds.

Minister of State for Sport, Brendan Griffin and Cork-based members of the Cabinet, Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, along with Fine Gael senator Jerry Buttimer, Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin and Fianna Fail TD, Michael McGrath have all been involved.

The €50 tickets for the game between a Manchester United Legends XI, managed by Roy Keane, and featuring former stars such as Denis Irwin, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand against a Glasgow Celtic/Republic of Ireland selection managed by Martin O’Neill sold out in minutes.

Proceeds of the game and of a banquet at Cork City Hall hosted by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mick Finn will go to Liam Miller’s widow, Clare and three children, Kory, Leo and Belle. Marymount Hospice in Cork, where Mr Miller died last February at the age of just 36 from oesophageal cancer, will also benefit.

From Ovens in Mid-Cork, Mr Miller was capped 21 times by the Republic of Ireland and played professionally for Glasgow Celtic, Manchester United, Leeds United, Sunderland, Queen’s Park Rangers and Hibernian as well as in Australia before returning to Leeside to play with Cork City.