Thursday 19 July 2018

Former Ireland star Miller (36) loses battle with cancer

Liam Miller in action for Ireland against Montenegro in a World Cup qualifier at Croke Park in Dublin in 2009. Picture: Sportsfile
Liam Miller in action for Ireland against Montenegro in a World Cup qualifier at Croke Park in Dublin in 2009. Picture: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

The football community is in mourning following the death of former Ireland international Liam Miller.

Miller (36) passed away in his native Cork after a short battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife Clare and three children. The midfielder was capped 21 times by Ireland, and was also a part of Brian Kerr's U16 European Championship winning side in 1998.

Miller grew up in the village of Ovens and started his football career with nearby Ballincollig. He moved to Celtic at the age of 15 and broke through to the first team as a teenager, although his profile soared when he returned after a loan spell in Denmark with Aarhus.

He excelled under then Celtic manager Martin O'Neill on both the domestic and European stage and that grabbed the attention of legendary manager Alex Ferguson who convinced the midfielder to sign for the Old Trafford giants in the summer of 2004.

"I sort of pinched myself to be honest," said Miller of the move in a rare interview in 2015. It didn't quite work out for Miller in Manchester as he had a loan spell at Leeds before his former team-mate Roy Keane brought him to Sunderland in 2006.

Miller was part of the side that achieved promotion to the Premier League, but he left English football in the summer of 2009 following a brief stay at QPR.

He went back to Scotland and Hibs before moving Down Under where he played with Perth Glory, Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City.

Miller came home from Australia in 2015 for a season with Cork City in the League of Ireland before relocating to the US to finish his playing career with North Carolina-based side Wilmington Hammerheads.

Former teammates and friends of the 36-year-old took to social media last night to pay tribute to the Cork man.

Kevin Kilbane tweeted: "Sad hearing the awful news that Liam Miller has passed away this evening, taken far too soon by a terrible disease. Proud to have shared a dressing room with him over the years."

Steven Reid wrote: "RIP Liam Miller. Was lucky enough to room with Liam on a few international trips... top player and a great person. Thoughts and prayers with his loved ones."

Clinton Morrison posted: "RIP Liam Miller, was a honour to play with you. Such a good footballer and a great guy as well. Such sad news. Thoughts go out to his family at this sad time."

Cork City Fine Gael councillor Des Cahill said it was a sad day for Cork and Ireland.

Irish Independent

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