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22nd Jul 2018

“Those social media comments were completely wrong” – Liam Miller update

Conan Doherty

It seems that common sense – and common decency for that matter – are yet to prevail.

As it stands, the Liam Miller memorial match is still going ahead at Turners Cross. Tickets are still sold out – as they were after the very first minute of them going on sale – and Páirc Uí Chaoimh is still off limits, much to the embarrassment of good Gaels all over the island.

The GAA have no problem trying to bend their own rules when it comes to something like relieving Kildare of home advantage so they can fix the match for a bigger stadium. They’re happy enough to relax rule 42 as well so they can enjoy the perks of hosting international soccer and rugby games at Croke Park. And, yes, they’ll allow a Leinster final to take place in Munster so they can throw a concert on at headquarters but they’re not as flexible all the time.

A match for the memory of a loved Cork native and a servant of Ireland? A match to raise funds for his family and the awareness of his awful passing? The only question the GAA are interested in is what kind of match is it?

Liam Miller Memorial Match
Man United Legends v Celtic/Ireland Legends
Tuesday 25 September
Turners Cross

Their brief statement on the issue incensed the country – GAA people, soccer people, whoever else. Thinking that it would blow over because they’ve pointed out they can only change rules at congress was feeble. Did they think it would satisfy mourners? Did they think everyone would conclude that it was just unfortunate his passing wasn’t at a more convenient time for the bloody GAA congress?

Did they think no-one would feel uncomfortable that the rule is backward and old-fashioned anyway?

In a year when Arlene Foster is attending Ulster finals, British royalty are touring Croke Park and refugees are finding homes in the GAA, the us against them mentality sits so far out of place that it’s extraordinary.

Whatever about holding on to old rules and old divisions but, in this case, all anyone is asking is to use the loopholes at your own discretion and ignore a rule nobody cares for anymore so we can help serve the memory of a former Gael and a special sportsman. So we can help his family and the city of Cork.

But, despite rumours suggesting that the game would indeed go ahead at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Michael Flynn – one of the key organisers of the event – told Cork’s 96 FM that no agreement has been made. In fact, no meeting has even taken place yet.

“They’re not even rumours. I don’t understand where they have come from,” Flynn said.

“All that has happened is that the GAA have come out yesterday afternoon with the suggestion of a meeting – which I have welcomed. I do indeed welcome the opportunity to sit down with them to discuss the chance of maybe holding the event at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

“But that’s it. It’s only a meeting.

“Those social media comments were completely and utterly wrong.”

He did express hope that an agreement could be reach but, as it stands, he doesn’t even know when the meeting with the GAA is going ahead.

“We are hopeful that the meeting might bring some sort of a breakthrough in terms of what we’re trying to achieve here.”

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Liam Miller