herald

Friday 21 September 2018

GAA chiefs to meet Miller testimonial organisers over match

Liam Miller. Photo: Getty Images Europe
Liam Miller. Photo: Getty Images Europe

GAA chiefs are to meet the organisers of the Liam Miller memorial match and offer a hurling or Gaelic football-themed fundraiser at Pairc Ui Chaoimh in a bid to resolve the controversy over a venue for the event in aid of the late soccer star.

The GAA confirmed that president John Horan and director general Tom Ryan will meet the organisers of the Liam Miller memorial match - a meeting expected to take place within the next 24 hours - after the association was condemned for failing to grant a request for the special fundraiser to be staged at the redeveloped €70m stadium which has a capacity of 45,000.

Despite intense speculation and media reports in Cork at the weekend that a U-turn had been agreed, no outline agreement is yet in place for Pairc Ui Chaoimh to be sanctioned as a venue for the match between an Ireland XI and a Manchester United XI.

Some within Cork County Board are willing to declare the Liam Miller memorial match as "a one-off special event" and sanction Pairc Ui Chaoimh as the venue.

However, others within the GAA hierarchy are worried about a precedent being set and are also annoyed at how the association has been depicted in the media.

One senior County Board official admitted last night that it would be "difficult" to see Pairc Ui Chaoimh being made available, though GAA officials were determined to try and agree a reasonable compromise.

One such compromise could be a charity GAA match at Pairc Ui Chaoimh in aid of the Miller family involving Gaelic All Stars.

Another is the offer of a substantial donation to the Liam Miller fund, possibly from special programme sales.

Miller, a former Cork, Celtic, Manchester United and Ireland soccer star, died, aged 36, last February after a brave battle against cancer.

A special fundraising soccer match to benefit his young family was organised and was earmarked for Turner's Cross in Cork on September 25. The match, with a 7,500 capacity, sold out in less than two minutes.

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