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High profile GAA figures back call for Liam Miller match to be held at Páirc Uí Chaoimh

A charity match is scheduled for 25 September to raise funds of Miller’s family.

Image: EMPICS Sport

A NUMBER OF high profile figures in the GAA community have added their voices to the call for the Liam Miller tribute match to be played at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

The former Republic of Ireland footballer died of pancreatic cancer earlier this year, aged 36. A charity match is scheduled for 25 September to raise funds of Miller’s family; Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and Damien Duff are to take part in the event.

But the match has been refused permission to be held at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, with the GAA saying it contravenes its rules. The Cork County Board prohibited the use of the ground under the GAA’s controversial Rule 42, which bans the use of stadiums for other codes.

Despite tickets for the match selling out in minutes, and increased pressure to hold the match at the 45,000-capacity stadium, the GAA repeated that it wouldn’t be making an exception for this event, and outlined its reasoning.

It 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.
The GAA has sought legal advice around funding received towards the redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh and believes it is compliant with the terms and conditions laid down in September 2016.

The former president of the GAA Sean Kelly also gave his support for the match to be held at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, according to RTÉ, saying it was a pity if it weren’t and that the majority of the organisation’s grassroots would like the match to be held in the Cork stadium.

One of RTÉ’s GAA commentator, Joe Brolly said on Twitter last night said that the “GAA has the legal power to sanction the use of Páirc Uí Chaoimh”.

“Even if they didn’t, no one would mind. This is a good thing all around,” he continued.

Rule 5.1 (a) allows GAA pitches to be used for “purposes not in conflict with the aims and objects of the association..” So, the Liam Miller game could easily be sanctioned. In any event, the penalty for a breach is discretionary R5.1 (b) so a blind eye should be turned.

All-Ireland hurling star Henry Shefflin then shared that message, with the caption: “Enough said.”

Former Cork GAA player Jamie Wall said that the GAA has made sudden decisions before in relation to match rules, saying it “can act fast when it suits”.

Call a f*cking meeting. Take the vote. It’d be done in 10 minutes.
But while you’re reading literally everybody calling on the GAA to open the Pairc, don’t forget, ‘there is no disconnect between top brass and the ordinary club members’.

Councillors and the government is expected to seek an explanation from the Cork County Board over the inability of Páirc Uí Chaoimh to host the match.

Although the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has not commented on the situation, Fianna Fáil leader and Cork TD Micheál Martin has, tweeting last night:

“The GAA is rooted in community. Liam Miller and family are of our community. Páirc Uí Chaoimh underpinned by our community.

The unique event organised to reflect that community ethos and to honour Liam Miller should be held in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

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