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No truth in reports that GAA agreed to use of Páirc Uí Chaoimh, organiser of Liam Miller match says

Michael O’Flynn said all that had been suggested by the GAA so far was a meeting.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

REPORTS LAST NIGHT that the GAA had agreed to hold the Liam Miller tribute match in Páirc Uí Chaoimh are untrue, one of the organisers of the event has said.

Word spread on social media last evening that the association had agreed the Cork venue could host the charity match, and a number of national news and sport websites published articles based on those reports.

Tickets for the match, slated to take place at Turners Cross, sold out within a minute of going on sale on Friday. The demand for tickets sparked calls for the game to be moved down the road to the 45,000-capacity Páirc.

The GAA said on Friday that the event would not be moved and that the Cork County Board had “no discretion” on the use of the stadium.

However yesterday afternoon the association released a short statement indicating a willingness to “discuss issues around the game” with organisers of the charity fixture, and suggesting a meeting.

Michael O’Flynn, a developer and family friend of Liam Miller, was asked about the latest developments today.

Speaking to Trevor Welch on The Score on Cork’s 96FM he said he didn’t know where last night’s reports had come from and that the GAA had only, so far, offered a meeting.

That, still, was a welcome development, O’Flynn said.

He said the Cork County Board had been receptive to his initial approach about hosting the match, but that they told him the stadium would not be available after running the question by the GAA’s management.

“I welcome the fact that they are now keen to have a meeting and we are very much hopeful that meeting might bring some kind of breakthrough,” he told Welch.

Progress had seemed very unlikely until yesterday afternoon’s statement from the GAA, he said. “That must be progress.”

O’Flynn added that no date had yet been set for the meeting between the match’s organisers and the GAA.

Rules 

The GAA’s implementation of Rule 42 forbids Gaelic grounds – Croke Park excluded – from playing host to other sporting codes.

Exemptions to the rule can only be granted at the association’s annual Congress, which does not take place until February.

Henry Shefflin, Joe Brolly, and former GAA president Sean Kelly are among the thousands of members nationwide who have condemned the GAA’s stance on the matter.

The Gaelic Players Association echoed calls for Páirc Uí Chaoimh to be made available for the September match, claiming the approach stated on Friday by the GAA “doesn’t align with our values as sportspeople”.

Barrister Tim O’Connor, who has an interest in sport and law, has suggested after examining the GAA rule book that the game could go ahead if it was defined as a charity event rather than a field sport from a non-GAA code.

The match, scheduled to take place on 25 September, will see an Ireland/Celtic XI managed by Martin O’Neill face off against a Manchester United XI to raise funds for Miller’s family.

Players including Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and Damien Duff will take part in the event for the late 36 year-old, who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in February.

Miller’s fellow Corkonian Roy Keane will manage the Manchester United XI.

- With reporting from Gavan Casey 

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