Liam Miller tribute match raised total of €1.5m
Organisers, family say thanks for support with €500,000 to be shared among Cork charities
Manchester United and Celtic teams observe a minute’s silence before the match. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho
A total of €1.5 million was raised as a result of a tribute match held in honour of the late Republic of Ireland and Manchester Utd footballer Liam Miller in Cork last month.
The sum is to be divided between the Miller family, with €1 million to be put into a trust to provide for their long-term financial security, and a number of charities in the Cork area.
After Miller (36), who also played for Celtic and Cork City FC during his career, died of oesophageal cancer in February, his neighbour, property developer Michael O’Flynn, came up with the idea of holding a benefit game.
With help from Roy Keane, John O’Shea and Alex Ferguson, O’Flynn organised a Manchester Utd Legends XI vs Glasgow Celtic/Republic of Ireland XI fixture which took place on September 25th at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Organisers said some 45,000 tickets were sold for the game.
Speaking during a press briefing at Cork City Hall on Tueday, Mr O’Flynn said the Miller family found the match to be uplifting and truly appreciated the efforts made on their behalf.
Miller is survived by his wife Clare, and children Kory, Leo and Belle, as well as his parents Billy and Bridie, and extended family.
The Lord Mayor of Cork City, Cllr Mick Finn, said the outpouring of generosity and support shown by the public was extraordinary.
Clare Miller said she felt “truly blessed and grateful” for what had happened.
“We would like to thank everyone involved from the bottom of our hearts. The love and support you have shown will always be remembered and treasured by us,” Ms Miller said in a statement.
Mr O’Flynn said €250,000 would be donated to Marymount Hospice, Cork, where Miller received end of life care. A further €100,000 will be donated to the Jack O’Driscoll Fund, which supports a man from Mayfield who was left paralysed following a freak accident during Storm Emma earlier this year.
A further €35,000 will be donated to Mercy University Hospital Foundation and the same amount will be given to the Oesophageal Cancer Fund. A total of €20,000 from the proceeds will be donated to each of Enable Ireland, Cork Simon Community, Cork Penny Dinners and Down Syndrome Cork.
Keane, who played for and managed the Manchester Utd legends side to a penalty shootout win in the game after a 2-2 draw, said he was “delighted with the amount raised, which will benefit so many people.
“The response from the public towards the Miller family is truly amazing,” he said.
The Manchester Utd legends team included former players Ryan Giggs, Denis Irwin, Gary Neville and Nicky Butt while the Celtic/Ireland legends line-up managed by Keane’s boss Martin O’Neill featured the likes of Robbie Keane, Damien Duff and Richard Dunne.
The GAA provided access to the ground rent free and none of the players took fees for participating. The organisers thanked the Cork County Board for allowing the GAA stadium to be used for the tribute soccer match.