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Saturday 17 November 2018

Pressure mounts on GAA to host Miller memorial

Liam Miller died in February. Photo: Getty Images
Liam Miller died in February. Photo: Getty Images

Pressure is growing on the GAA to compromise over the Liam Miller memorial soccer match, with Cork politicians, church leaders, councils and even GAA clubs now backing the use of the €70m Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

Sports Minister Shane Ross is being briefed on the embarrassing stand-off, which one event organiser, Michael O'Flynn, warned was the last thing the family of the late Ireland, Manchester United and Celtic soccer star ever wanted.

A meeting at a secret venue between GAA chiefs and the match organisers is expected to take place today to examine a range of options, from allowing Pairc Ui Chaoimh to host the match to - as an alternative - Cork GAA hosting a Gaelic All-Stars charity match in aid of the Liam Miller fund.

Father-of-three Miller (36) lost his battle with cancer in February.

Capacity

The September 25 match between an Ireland XI and a Manchester United XI was organised as a fundraiser with the backing of Roy Keane, Martin O'Neill, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Damien Duff.

When tickets sold out within two minutes, the GAA was approached to allow Pairc Ui Chaoimh to be used as a venue.

Turner's Cross has a 7,500 capacity, but Pairc Ui Chaoimh can cater for 45,000.

Mr O'Flynn, who played for the same GAA club, Eire Og, as Miller, said it had been a difficult time for the Miller family.

"I have spoken to Liam's widow, Clare, and his mother, Bridie," he said.

"They do not want any controversy. They are a quiet, tight-knit family. But they understand what has happened and are deeply humbled by the support of people across Cork and Ireland."

Mr O'Flynn was "hopeful" the meeting with GAA president John Horan and Ard Stiurthoir Tom Ryan would have a positive outcome.

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