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Friday 14 December 2018

GAA exhibit considered as compromise in Miller saga

The late Liam Miller
The late Liam Miller

The GAA is examining a face-saving compromise whereby a Gaelic games involvement around the Liam Miller memorial soccer match would allow it to be staged at Cork's €70m Pairc Ui Chaoimh stadium.

Croke Park chiefs are considering a number of options following two hours of talks on Tuesday with three organisers of the special September 25 soccer match planned to raise funds for the late Mr Miller's wife and three children.

Mr Miller (36), a former Cork City, Ireland and Manchester United player, died in February of cancer.

He was a keen GAA player as a youngster and starred with both Eire Og and Cork juveniles sides.

Compromise proposals to allow the Cork GAA ground to be used have ranged from a juvenile GAA skills exhibition involving Liam Miller's old Eire Og club at half-time to a Cork and provincial hurling all-stars challenge before the main feature, an Ireland XI and Manchester United XI soccer match.

Challenge

Another proposal is that some of the soccer names taking part, including Roy Keane, Martin O'Neill, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Damian Duff, participate in a Gaelic games skills challenge.

The soccer match sold out in less than two minutes but the prospective venue at Cork City's Turner's Cross home only has a capacity of 7,500, in contrast to Pairc Ui Chaoimh's 45,000 capacity.

Meanwhile, funding for future GAA developments is under threat unless the body lifts its ban on foreign sports being played in its stadium.

Sports Minister Brendan Griffin said the controversy over the tribute match for Liam Miller had exposed a need to tighten rules around State funding.

He said that the €30m of taxpayers' money given to the GAA for the redevelopment of Pairc Ui Chaoimh was subject to a belief that the pitch would be available for community events.

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