Tickets sold out in minutes but GAA won't budge on opening the Páirc for Liam Miller tribute match

Tickets sold out in minutes but GAA won't budge on opening the Páirc for Liam Miller tribute match
Roy Keane, left, Republic of Ireland, chats to team-mate Liam Miller during squad training in 2004. Keane and a host of other stars will line out for a tribute match for Miller 

TICKETS for the Liam Miller tribute match at Turner’s Cross sold out within minutes of going on sale, as controversy rumbles on over the GAA’s refusal to open up Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the game.

Seven thousand tickets went on sale at 10am yesterday for the benefit game which will take place on September 25 at 3pm.

People also queued overnight outside Ticketmaster outlets, keen to pay their respects to the Cork legend, who passed away earlier this year following a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was just 36.

Stars from Miller’s days with Man United, Celtic and the Republic of Ireland will line out for the match in September which will be followed by a gala event, with all funds raised going towards the Miller family.

Many Corkonians, sports stars and politicians have expressed their disappointment at the fact that Páirc Uí Chaoimh, with a capacity of 45,000, has not been made available for the game.

Almost 12,000 people had signed a petition by early today, calling on the GAA to relax its rules and open up the stadium for the game.

However, in a statement, the GAA said: “The GAA is prohibited in rule from hosting games other than those under the control of the Association in its stadia and grounds. The Cork County Committee and Central Council have no discretion in this matter.

“Only a change at annual congress can alter this situation. Congress takes place in February each year.”

RTÉ GAA pundit Joe Brolly insists that the tribute match can go ahead at the Páirc, saying on social media:

“Rule 5.1 (a) allows GAA pitches to be used for ‘purposes not in conflict with the aims and objects of the association.’ So, the Liam Miller game could easily be sanctioned. In any event, the penalty for a breach is discretionary R5.1(b) so a blind eye should be turned.”

Seanad leader Jerry Buttimer has called for common sense to prevail and for the game to be played in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

“I understand the GAA have rules which bind the Cork County Board in this situation but I would hope that an exception could be made for this match,” he said.

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