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Liam Miller tribute organisers to meet with GAA president over use of Páirc Uí Chaoimh tomorrow

Michael O’Flynn, who is helping to organise the game, said this evening that a meeting is scheduled for tomorrow in order to discuss the matter.

LAST UPDATE | 23 Jul 2018

Liam Miller Liam Miller Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

THE GAA WILL tomorrow meet with the organisers of a tribute match for Liam Miller in order to discuss the use of Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the fixture.

This evening Michael O’Flynn, chairman of the Liam Miller benefit events, confirmed that he and his fellow committee members will meet with senior GAA officials, including the association’s president John Horan, to discuss the issue.

“No further details are available at this time,” O’Flynn said in a statement, adding that he hoped the committee will be in a position to provide an update in the wake of that meeting.

In a statement to this morning, a spokesman for the association confirmed that while it had not yet been in touch with the game’s organisers, it expected to make “contact very soon with a view to trying to organise a meeting”.

The news throughout today represents something of a U-turn from a previous statement issued by the GAA on Friday evening, when the association said it would not be moved on its stance and was seeking legal advice.

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 Irish Independent reported yesterday that Croke Park had been in touch with the game’s organisers to arrange a meeting to discuss the use of the 45,000-seater stadium.

That followed reports on Saturday that the GAA had agreed to host the match in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, which it later emerged were untrue.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Michael O’Flynn, a developer and family friend of Miller who is helping to arrange the game, revealed he has yet to hear from the association.

“I haven’t heard anything from anyone in the GAA in relation to this,” he said.

“I was quite disappointed at the weekend with the misinformation, because it’s only adding to the whole thing.”

Tickets for the match, which will take place at the 7,000-capacity Turner’s Cross on 25 September, sold out within a minute of going on sale on Friday.

A general view Turner's Cross Turner's Cross Oisin Keniry / INPHO Oisin Keniry / INPHO / INPHO

Earlier last week, the expected demand for tickets led to calls for the game to be hosted in the Páirc instead.

However, the Cork County Board said they were unable to sanction the move as it violated the GAA’s ban on the use of its stadiums by other sports.

A ruling on the use of Páirc Uí Chaoimh can only be made by the GAA’s annual Congress, which takes place in February.

O’Flynn, who said he was “very keen” to have a meeting with the GAA, acknowledged that people felt strongly about the issue, but added that Miller’s family don’t “want any controversy”.

“I understand how much people are exercised,” he said.

“I’m at the coal face of people reacting and people contacting [us], and a lot of people in government and opposition and other parties have been on it trying to resolve it.”

He added: “At the end of the day if the GAA are receptive and prepared, well it’s a whole different discussion.

“But if they’re not and they can’t, I can’t do anything about that. I’m just trying to get an event held and get on with it.”

Liam Miller Liam Miller in action for the Republic of Ireland Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

Meanwhile, former commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh also told Today with Miriam O’Callaghan on RTE Radio One that he felt the game would now go ahead in the bigger stadium.

He said: “I believe that it should have gone ahead from the start, and I believe that it will go ahead in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.”

The game is being organised to raise funds for Marymount Hospice and Miller’s family, after the former Republic of Ireland midfielder passed away from pancreatic cancer earlier this year.

An Ireland/Celtic XI managed by Martin O’Neill will play against a Manchester United XI, with players including Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and Damien Duff expected to take part.

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