Belfast Telegraph

GAA to reconsider Liam Miller benefit match after furore

By Mark Bain and Declan Bogue

The GAA has said it will "further consider" the proposal of a benefit match for the late Celtic and Manchester United footballer Liam Miller being held at its stadium in Cork.

It comes as Armagh's All-Ireland winning star Oisin McConville waded into the furore over the bid to hold the game at the Pairc Ui Chaoimh instead of the 7,000-capacity Turner's Cross, home of Cork City.

The GAA will now further consider the proposal for the match to be held at the stadium on September 25 after a meeting with the organisers of the tribute match yesterday was described as "open and constructive".

An initial request by the match organisers to use the newly redeveloped 45,000-capacity Pairc Ui Chaoimh was turned down by the GAA.

Former Republic international Damien Duff had slammed GAA authorities and insisted that even if they relent at the eleventh hour, the officials responsible should still "hang their heads in shame."

But former Armagh star McConville believes "we will get the right conclusion in the end" as he hit back at Duff, saying: "I am getting a little bit sick of people like Damien Duff, who know nothing about the comings and goings of the GAA, just having a go for the sake of it.

"Like everyone else, I would like to see it (Pairc Ui Chaoimh) opened up. That would be great," he said.

A statement from Croke Park last weekend 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."

Mr McConville added: "One thing I would remind the likes of Damien Duff is that there are certain protocols. You can't just go out on a whim and say you can open things up in accordance with public opinion." Duff, who won two Premier League titles with Chelsea, is due to play in the charity match.

"The GAA have come out of this looking horrific," he said.

"To brush it aside and leave it for an AGM, it's a load of rubbish."

Aidan O'Rourke, GAA performance manager with Queen's, agreed that the larger venue should be made available.

"I absolutely think that Pairc Ui Chaoimh should be used for the event," he said.

"We are far enough down the line that one point that Damien Duff does make and I agree with, is that if it is opened up, it is going to look as if it is done through gritted teeth."

Miller died in February this year aged 36 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Martin O'Neill's Ireland and Celtic XI are set to take on Roy Keane's Manchester United XI in the charity game.

Belfast Telegraph

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