Thursday 13 December 2018

'Liam Miller was such a lovable guy' - Stars collide in Cork to celebrate a city's favourite son

The late Liam Miller. Photo: David Maher/SPORTSFILE
The late Liam Miller. Photo: David Maher/SPORTSFILE
David Kelly

David Kelly

Cork will play host to a poignant celebration for one of its special sons this afternoon but the whole country will be invited to publicly declare their appreciation for the former Ireland, Manchester United and Celtic star Liam Miller, who tragically died, aged just 36, last April, after succumbing to pancreatic cancer.

With the brief summer squabble about the venue a distant memory, the emphasis for the 45,000 spectators at Páirc Uí Chaoimh will be on reflecting on the spectacular sporting career while also raising funds for the Miller family.

Two teams, one representing Manchester United, with Roy Keane as player/assistant manager, and a combined Celtic/Ireland side, managed by current boss Martin O'Neill, will take centre stage for the exhibition match.

John O'Shea and Wes Brown were last night added to the United line-up, where they will join a host of former favourites, including Ryan Giggs, Andy Cole, Louis Saha, Gary Neville, Denis Irwin, Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes.

The Irish team will feature Robbie Keane, Damien Duff, Kevin Kilbane, Kevin Doyle, Kenny Cunningham and many more of Miller's former international team-mates, with John Hartson and John Kennedy some of those representing Celtic.

"I was very close with Liam in his time here," says Kennedy, currently Celtic's first-team coach.

"When he left we kept in contact for the duration so it's going to be a good occasion for his family to celebrate the life he had and the career he had.

"He's left behind a young family so it's devastating.

"His family were strong when I was across for Liam's funeral. His family are very close."

Ballincollig, Miller's schoolboy soccer club, will provide the ball-boys while at half-time, there will be an exhibition game featuring Éire Óg, for whom Miller played Gaelic football as a child.

"He was such a lovable guy," added Kennedy. "Wherever he went, people took to him with the personality he had.

"He was a great guy to have in the dressing-room and be friends with. I'm delighted that they've managed to pull this together, so credit to the organisers for that.

"It's good to think of all the memories we have of Liam and this is a great occasion for us to come together, remember him and put on a good occasion.

"All funds raised by the exhibition and dinner will go to the Miller family and also Marymount Hospice."

Liam Miller tribute match Live, Virgin Media Three, 3.0

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