LEAFING through the archives, May 1995 is the first mention one finds of Liam Miller, playing an U14 game for Ballincollig AFC.
Less than two years later, February 1997, his international call-up provided a chance for some background on a flourishing career:
“Saturday, February 15 last will go down in history of Ballincollig AFC as the day the club received its first international cap when Liam Miller played for Ireland against Northern Ireland in Dublin.
“Liam, who is on an FAI Fás soccer course, run by former Celtic player Mick Conroy, is in his third year with the club. He is progressively going from strength to strength in all aspects of his game.
“In his first season with the club, he was selected on the panel of the Cork schoolboys’ U14 squad for the Kennedy Cup. In his second season, Liam was a member of the U15 team that went through the league campaign undefeated, consequently taking the league title.
“Liam was a selected as a panel member that season for the national U15 side.
“Although he was not actually selected to play in any of their games, he trained regularly with the squad. Liam’s contribution was duly acknowledged at the end of the season by being chosen the club’s overall play of the year. He also had the honour of being chosen as the Cork Schoolboys’ League U15 player of the year.
“Liam achieved his goal this season by winning his first international cap. Liam’s potential talent ha received recognition, as evidenced by the invitation of Celtic to go to them within the next month.
“Some English Premier League clubs are showing interest in him and, to date, Middlesbrough have offered him a week’s trial. Liam will be joined for the visit to Glasgow by Michael Greene.
“Liam, who lives in Kiilcrea with his parents Bridie and Billy and his three brothers and one sister, has always been a key sportsman. As a member of Killumney AC, he won his first goal medal at U10. Over the past number of years, he has added to his tally, including a gold with the Cork U13 relay team.
“Liam was also a member of the Cork U14 team and was a member of his former school Coachford’s U16 football team that reached the Munster final last year.”
Later that year, the West Cork News supplement in The Examiner – now part of the County on a Tuesday – brought news of the impending move to Glasgow.
“A young man from Ovens has set his village alight with anticipation. Liam Miller has just signed a contract with Scottish giants Celtic, which will see him at Parkhead for at least nine months and maybe a soccer lifetime.
“Liam, from Kilcrea, recently travelled to Scotland’s second city with his mother and father, Bridie and Billy Miller for the historic signing as the local ex-Man Utd fans burned their replica jerseys and invested in Celtic’s famous green and white hoops.
“It was always Liam’s ambition to become a full-time footballer and he’s always been a great admirer of The Bhoys. However, as his mother explained, none of this would have been possible without his dedication and that of his coach from Ballincollig AFC, Mr Michael McNulty. Liam was nurtured by Michael and his colleagues ever since joining Ballincollig as a 13-year-old.
“The following year, he lined out for his country. His talent was soon spotted even further afield as he got international youth caps under his belt. He could be in for a four-year contract if he does the business at Celtic.”