Pressure mounts to play Miller game at Páirc

Pressure mounts to play Miller game at Páirc
Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

THE Lord Mayor of Cork will write to the heads of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in a bid to have the upcoming Liam Miller benefit game played in Páirc Ui Chaoimh, it has been revealed.

Roy Keane, left, Republic of Ireland, chats to team-mate Liam Miller during squad training in Malahide in 2004.
Roy Keane, left, Republic of Ireland, chats to team-mate Liam Miller during squad training in Malahide in 2004.

A star-studded line-up featuring Miller’s former teammates from his time at Man United, Celtic and the Republic of Ireland, will feature in a friendly game in honour of the former Cork City player on September 25.

All funds raised from the match and a gala event that evening at City Hall will go to Liam’s family.

Efforts were made to hold the event in the stadium which has a capacity of 45,000 but a GAA rule prevented it.

It has emerged the Government is to seek an explanation from Cork County GAA Board amid concerns the decision may have broken the conditions of a grant paid towards the stadium’s redevelopment.

The €80m redevelopment received €30m in public funding in a grant approved by the EU under the condition that ‘the stadium will be open to various users on a non-discriminatory and transparent basis”.

Cork GAA chairperson Tracy Kennedy said that personally, she would have liked to have seen the event held at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

“When the request was made, we approached central council who informed us of the rule and said it couldn’t go ahead and that we had no discretion in the matter,” she said.

The organiser of the event, and Miller family friend, Michael O’Flynn said that he was keen to hold the event in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

“We were very keen to use the stadium for a number of reasons, capacity being one of these,” he added.

A change to the rule would require more than 60% of the vote from delegates at the GAA Congress which takes place in February every year.

The rule states that all property including Grounds, Club Houses, Halls, Dressing Rooms and Handball Alleys owned or controlled by units of the Association shall be used only for the purpose of or in connection with the playing of the Games controlled by the Association, and for such other purposes not in conflict with the Aims and Objects of the Association, that may be sanctioned from time to time by the Central Council.

Speaking to the Evening Echo, Lord Mayor Cllr Mick Finn said he plans to write to the GAA hierarchy in a bid to get an exemption from the rule.

“I understand the rule is there but we will make an effort to get a special exemption for the occasion,” he added.

“Maybe a last-ditch attempt, an appeal to the GAA hierarchy will change it, and it’s something that as Lord Mayor, I will pursue.”

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