Monday 17 June 2019

Anger as permission refused for Páirc Uí Chaoimh to host Liam Miller charity match

Organisers of the Liam Miller charity match were refused permission to host the game at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Organisers of the Liam Miller charity match were refused permission to host the game at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Ger Keville and Olivia Kelleher

Organisers of the Liam Miller charity match were refused permission to host the game at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

The match, which will feature high-profile former players from Manchester United, Celtic and Ireland - will take place in Turner's Cross on September 25.

But organisers had sought permission to play the game at Páirc Uí Chaoimh which has a capacity of 45,000. Fans are expected to be left disappointed when tickets go on sale today as the capacity of Turner's Cross is just 7,000.

"Turner's Cross stadium will be packed to capacity, the tickets are going to fly out the door tomorrow," said Cork Lord Mayor Mick Finn.

"One pity is that we didn't have the use of a bigger venue in the city. I know attempts were made to get Páirc Uí Chaoimh, which is a pity, but I have no doubt that the Cork public will row in behind this and it will be a fantastic event.

"There is such a demand for this event that I have no doubt it will sell out within a couple of minutes. Attempts were made by Michael (O'Flynn), and myself and others to see if Páirc Uí Chaoimh would be available. But they have their own internal practices, the response was it wasn't available on this occasion.

"I think it has to go before Congress, [to use] every pitch outside Croke Park. They have approval for Croke Park I think generally, and every other facility has to go before Congress which isn't until next February, so it just wasn't an option.

"They have offered their premium facilities free of charge, conscious of the fact that Liam played with Éire Óg, and captained his school to a Sciath na Scol final in '93.

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"They are making those facilities available if required, but unfortunately, on this occasion, it was just too soon for it to be organised."

Mr Finn also added that the Cork County Board were "receptive", but their hands were tied.

The GAA's controversial Rule 42, which prohibits GAA stadiums from hosting non-GAA sports, was modified in 2005 with Croke Park opened while Lansdowne Road was under reconstruction. in 2010 the GAA voted to keep Croke Park open when Lansdowne was finished but other GAA stadia are not permitted to host 'foreign sports'.  

There has been widespread anger on social media with the GAA's rules coming in for criticism.

"Every pitch except Croke Park has to go before Congress for permission for outside use," said Irish Independent columnist Tomás Ó Sé.

"So even though Cork county board were open to letting the Liam Miller testimonial match go ahead in Pairc Uí Chaiomh (45000) they can't use it and it will be in Turners Cross (7000). My God."

Social Democrats' Dermot Looney added: "Shame on the GAA for refusing the use of Páirc Uí Chaoimh for Liam Miller's memorial match.

"The GAA has modernised in many ways but it's unacceptable to hide behind an antiquated rule book in a situation like this."

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