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GAA seek meeting with Liam Miller tribute match organisers 'to discuss issues around the game'

The Gaelic Players Association have also released a statement claiming the GAA’s current stance ‘doesn’t align with our values as sportspeople.’

THE GAA TOP brass have stated their intention to sit down with the organising committee of the Liam Miller tribute match ‘to discuss issues around the game.’

GAA president John Horan, Ard Stiúrthóir Tom Ryan and representatives of the Cork Committee are now seeking a meeting with those organising the charity soccer match in memory of the former Celtic, Manchester United and Ireland midfielder, who passed away from cancer four days before his 37th birthday back in February.

Liam Miller prepares to take a corner Liam Miller Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Pressure has mounted on the GAA to open the doors to Páirc Uí Chaoimh after tickets for the 25 September fixture – currently slated for Turners Cross – sold out within minutes upon their release.

Controversy arose on Thursday when it emerged that Páirc Uí Chaoimh – its capacity some 38,000 larger than ‘The Cross’ – could not be used to host the game: such a move would break the GAA’s controversial Rule 42, which forbids the use of Gaelic grounds – Croke Park excluded – for other sporting codes.

The GAA reiterated on Friday that it is “prohibited in rule from hosting games other than those under the control of the Association in its stadia and grounds,” and also confirmed that it had sought legal advice pertaining to the public funding of Páirc Uí Chaoimh and the effect this funding might have on its implementation of Rule 42 at the home of Cork GAA.

A general view of Pairc Ui Chaoimh Páirc Uí Chaoimh Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Henry Shefflin, Joe Brolly, and former GAA president Sean Kelly are among the thousands of members nationwide who have condemned the GAA’s stance on the matter.

This afternoon’s development, however, could be perceived as somewhat of a breakthrough, with the association publicly declaring a willingness to at least discuss the matter with organisers of the charity soccer match – the proceeds from which will go to Miller’s wife, Clare, and their three children.

A curt statement released by the GAA read:

The GAA President and Ard Stiúrthóir, along with representatives of the Cork Committee, are to seek a meeting with the organising committee of the Liam Miller Tribute Match to discuss issues around the game.

Moments after the GAA’s statement, the Gaelic Players Association echoed calls for Páirc Uí Chaoimh to be made available for the September soccer match, claiming the GAA’s current stance “doesn’t align with our values as sportspeople.”

Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor Mick Finn, praised the GAA’s decision to meet with the relevant parties behind the Miller testimonial.

“News that the GAA is to meet with the organisers of the Liam Miller event – with a view to hosting it in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on September 25th – is to be welcomed,” he said.

“Tickets for Turners Cross were gone in 60 seconds… This gives some small indication of how hugely respected young Liam Miller was and indeed how much he is missed by the sports community in Cork, Ireland and beyond.”

The GAA is a massive organisation with a presence in every parish in the country and has rules for good reason in a competitive world. But this issue is about honouring a Corkman who brought honour to Cork by holding a fundraising event in Munster’s premier venue and is in no way contravening a GAA rule.

“I know a lot of work has gone on in recent days with local TDs, senators and people from various organisations putting their support behind this.

“I applaud the GAA for agreeing to meet the organisers and hope common sense will prevail in the discussions.”

DiYQaPwX4AEa1C8 Source: Árdmhéara Chorcaí, Mick Finn (@MickFinn01)

A host of Miller’s former team-mates will take to the field – wherever it may be – when a Man United legends selection takes on a joint Celtic/Republic of Ireland XI in tribute to the Ovens man.

Miller’s fellow Corkonian Roy Keane, himself formerly of United, Celtic and Ireland, will manage the Red Devils’ outfit in place of Alex Ferguson who is currently recovering from illness.

Keane has already recruited Denis Irwin, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Jaap Stam, Rio Ferdinand, Louis Saha and Quentin Fortune to line out for his side on 25 September.

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High profile GAA figures back call for Liam Miller match to be held at Páirc Uí Chaoimh

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