GAA to meet Liam Miller charity match organisers after outcry at Páirc Úi Chaoimh block

GAA to meet Liam Miller charity match organisers after outcry at Páirc Úi Chaoimh block

THE GAA has announced it will meet with organisers of a charity match in memory of soccer player Liam Miller, after the association blocked plans to hold the game at Páirc Úi Chaoimh.

On Friday the GAA said only Gaelic games could be played at the Cork stadium, which was recently redeveloped at a cost of €80million, including €30million from the state.

However following widespread opposition to the decision – including from GAA and soccer figures as well as politicians – GAA bosses have now agreed to meet organisers of the event.

Cork native Miller died of cancer in February at the age 36, leaving behind a wife and three children.

In a statement on Twitter yesterday, the GAA said: “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.”


The GAA has come under mounting pressure to hold the match at Páirc Úi Chaoimh.

Yesterday the Gaelic Players Association called on the GAA to make the stadium available.

“We feel that the decision being taken here doesn’t align with our values as sportspeople and needs to be revisited,” they said.

Meanwhile a Facebook post from the Monageer/Boolavogue GAA Club in Co. Wexford has gone viral after it accused the GAA hierarchy of ‘blatant lies’ as ‘the rule covering the use of a pitch owned by the GAA is the same rule that covers use of hospitality facilities owned by the GAA’.

In the post, the club lists rule breaches it has committed to allow community groups, including sports groups, to use its facilities, saying: “We allow all of these things to take place in our grounds because we recognise that the GAA is a community organisation.”

Miller’s former Ireland teammate Andy Reid called the GAA’s decision ‘scandalous’ while Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin joined those calling for the game to be played at Páirc Úi Chaoimh.

Currently, the Liam Miller Tribute Match is scheduled to take place on September 25 at Turners Cross in Cork, which holds just 7,500 – one-sixth of Páirc Úi Chaoimh’s 45,000 capacity.

With tickets selling out in minutes this week, the use of the GAA stadium would allow organisers to meet demand and raise more money for Miller’s family.

Star support

The game will feature a host of football stars from Miller’s Manchester United, Celtic and Ireland days including Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.

Roy Keane will manage one side and play in the game, while Ireland manager Martin O’Neill will coach the other.

Liam Miller in action against Arsenal in 2004 (Image: Getty)

The GAA had previously said it would allow event organisers to use Páirc Úi Chaoimh’s facilities for hospitality purposes but that rules prevented it from hosting other sports.

It said the Cork County Committee and Central Council have no discretion in the matter as only a change at Annual Congress can alter the situation.

The next Annual Congress is scheduled for February.