Saturday 23 June 2018

'He was bravest ever': soccer family says farewell to Miller

Leo (right) and Kory (centre) Miller, sons of former Celtic and Manchester United footballer Liam Miller, follow their father’s coffin at his funeral at St John the Baptist Church in Ovens, Co Cork. Photo: PA
Leo (right) and Kory (centre) Miller, sons of former Celtic and Manchester United footballer Liam Miller, follow their father’s coffin at his funeral at St John the Baptist Church in Ovens, Co Cork. Photo: PA
Above: Family and friends follow the coffin out of the church. Photo: PA
FAI chief executive John Delaney, Ireland player Aiden McGeady and Ireland manager Martin O’Neill. Photo: PA
Former Manchester United player Denis Irwin. Photo: Provision
Former Ireland stars Stephen Kelly and Steve Staunton. Photo: Daragh McSweeney
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Former Ireland, Celtic and Manchester United star Liam Miller (36) was hailed as an inspiration - and one of the bravest men ever.

The tribute came as football stars joined with neighbours and friends as hundreds paid their respects to the father of three at his Requiem Mass in Cork.

Mr Miller died after a brave battle against cancer last Friday - and his funeral took place just 24 hours before his 37th birthday.

His wife Clare and children Kory, Leo and Belle led the mourners alongside his parents, Billy and Bridie, and siblings, Sean, Robby, Martin and Suzanne, at the Church of St John the Baptist in Ovens, Co Cork.

The mourners also included Ireland manager Martin O'Neill, former Ireland managers Brian Kerr and Steve Staunton, Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane, FAI chief executive John Delaney, former Manchester United players Denis Irwin and John O'Shea, Ireland and former Celtic star Aiden McGeady, Cork City manager John Caulfield as well as virtually the entire Cork City team.

President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar were represented by their aides de camp.

Wreaths were presented from former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and his wife, Cathy, as well as from the club.

The Mass also featured a special prayer version of the Celtic and Liverpool anthem 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.

Ovens parish priest Fr Liam Hickey told the packed church that words failed to convey the scale of the tragedy. "Liam fought his illness with the same resilience with which he played," he said.

Fr Hickey said Liam packed so much into his short life he could rightly say: "Follow that."

"Liam used his talents to the full in such a short time. He gave so much joy to people and honoured the God who gave him those talents. He brought immense pride to his family."

Liam's brother-in-law, Dan Sheedy, said they were all heartbroken.

"The loss of the best is the worst ... it is overwhelming. There was never a father like Liam - he gave every ounce of himself to his children. "Liam wanted to survive for his family. He was the bravest person I have ever known."

Former Celtic manager Willie McStay supervised Liam's arrival the club as a talented schoolboy.

"I will always remember that wee boy who never gave the ball away. It was a joy to work with him and to know him. Liam - you will never walk alone," Mr McStay said.

Irish Independent

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