Gaelic sports chiefs agree to hold fundraiser for tragic ex-Sunderland star Liam Miller's family

Ireland's Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) has bowed to pressure and agreed to host a memorial match for former Sunderland footballer Liam Miller's family.
Liam Miller made 21 international appearances for the Republic of Ireland.Liam Miller made 21 international appearances for the Republic of Ireland.
Liam Miller made 21 international appearances for the Republic of Ireland.

Organisers had initially been refused permission to hold the fundraising game at Cork's Pairc Ui Chaoimh because the association's rules did not allow non-GAA sports at their venues.

Miller, who died from cancer in February, aged just 36, made 57 appearances for Sunderland between 2006 and 2009, scoring three goals.

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Liam Miller pictured in his Sunderland days.Liam Miller pictured in his Sunderland days.
Liam Miller pictured in his Sunderland days.

During his career he also played for Manchester United, Celtic, Leeds United, Queens Park Rangers and Hibernian, as well as making 21 appearances for the Republic of Ireland .

A benefit match was hoped to be played at the 45,000 capacity GAA stadium in Cork and the association recently faced widespread criticism from across the political and sporting worlds after initially vetoing the September 25 fixture.

The match is to raise money for Miller's family and charities, but had been rescheduled for a much smaller venue.

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Pairc Ui Chaoimh's capacity will increase the funds raised for the family and charitable causes by an estimated two million euro.

On Saturday the GAA's central council announced its re-think.

In a tweet it confirmed: "The Liam Miller tribute match will take place at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Tuesday September 25th."

The charity football match is between a Manchester United legends team managed by Roy Keane and a combined Celtic/Ireland side.

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The GAA ban on non-association games being played in its grounds was relaxed in 2007 to allow soccer and rugby at Croke Park while Lansdowne Road football stadium in Dublin was redeveloped.

The park has also been used for concerts, with musician Ed Sheeran playing there in May.

Ireland's Sport Minister, Shane Ross, said: "I am delighted that a practical solution has been found.

"The Government was delighted to contribute to the redeveloped Pairc Ui Chaoimh and always viewed it as an asset for all of the people of Cork.

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"With this charity event now taking place in September, thousands of additional sports supporters will have an opportunity to experience the magnificent venue for themselves."