GAA bosses set for crunch meeting in Cork to solve Miller game row

GAA bosses set for crunch meeting in Cork to solve Miller game row
Irelands Liam Miller celebrates his goal against Sweden during their friendly international at Lansdowne Road in 2006. Picture Dan Linehan

PRESSURE is mounting on GAA chiefs to allow the Liam Miller memorial match at Páirc Uí Chaoimh after they agreed to meet with organisers within the next 48 hours.

Cork County Board officials told the Evening Echo this morning that no details or timeframe for the meeting has yet been confirmed but it is likely to take place today or tomorrow.

Tickets for the game, scheduled to take place at the 7,000 capacity Turners Cross stadium sold out in minutes after going on sale at 10am on Friday morning.

Irish football assistant manager Roy Keane, who will manage a team of Manchester United legends for the benefit match.Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Irish football assistant manager Roy Keane, who will manage a team of Manchester United legends for the benefit match.Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

The game is set to feature a Manchester United XI managed by Roy Keane including stars such as Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Jaap Stam and Rio Ferdinand coming up against a combined Ireland and Celtic team managed by Martin O'Neill.

The GAA had maintained it's hardline stance on its own rules over the weekend, issuing a statement on Friday saying it could not hold the game at the 45,000 capacity stadium but would offer hospitality facilities free of charge.

However, the organisation changed tack on Friday after following a strong public backlash with several Cork TDs including Micheál Martin, Michael McGrath and Seán Sherlock, as well as Tánaiste Simon Coveney, leading the call for the GAA to relent.

Another statement was then issued saying the GAA was open to meeting the organisers.

Organiser Michael O'Flynn and Roy Keane pictured at the launch last week. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Organiser Michael O'Flynn and Roy Keane pictured at the launch last week. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Reports emerged on Saturday evening that the matter had been resolved but these were dismissed by developer Michael O'Flynn who is head of the match organising committee.

However, Mr O'Flynn said he is “greatly encouraged” by the offer of a meeting by the GAA.

“Obviously we look forward to sitting down with them as soon as possible in the public interest and to see if we can find a way forward that will make everyone happy,” he added.

The GAA rulebook says that its venues cannot be used for events that are “in conflict” with the aims and objectives of the association.

However, Liam Miller, who tragically died of cancer at the age of 36 in February, was a former GAA player despite going on to become a professional soccer player with Celtic, Manchester United, Leeds and Sunderland.

The charitable status of the event is also believed to be in line with the GAA's ethos.

A refusal to hold the game is also thought to not be in line with the terms of the granting of €30m funding which was supplied by the Government for the redevelopment of the stadium.

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