Roy Keane: 'Liam Miller was a very talented player - a really nice guy and very humble'Fri, Sep 28 2018
The atmosphere and talk around Cork City and in the surrounds of Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Tuesday morning was one of pride.
It was a day full of memories and talk of individual and favourite moments from lots of different generations and fans of all ages.
Once the team buses pulled into the stadium the fond memories about Liam Miller, both the football memories and those about the gentleman that Liam was off the field continued right throughout the day.
To begin proceedings, Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill reflected fondly on his own memories of the proud Cork man.
The Derryman also spoke about their brief time together at Celtic when Miller was only starting his adventure.
“I only think of Liam as a young lad at Celtic,” O’Neill said in the pre-match press conference.
“I followed his career right the way through. I was hoping he would stay at Celtic a little bit longer as he was learning his trade.
“It says a lot about the man with the crowd that is here today to pay tribute and how high in regard he was held.
“John [Hartson] and [Stiliyan] Petrov are here today to pay tribute to the family and also, as they have been through an incredible battle themselves, they know what it means to have that support and everyone is here today to support Liam’s family.”
Miller's former Celtic team-mate Petrov has been through his own tough battle with cancer in the last few years.
The Bulgarian spoke fondly about Liam and also about the importance of the support that they would all be providing today for the family.
“Liam was a friend first and a team mate after and today we are going to show his family how good Liam was as a player and as a person,” he said.
“It’s great to see the community pull together as the battle with the sickness he had is so hard which I have experience with.
“It’s a sell out and a great venue and we are going to show people who are also battling this sickness that we are all together in support.”
Hartson, who survived his own battle after testicular cancer spread to his brain, had some lovely words ahead of the game.
“Straight away you could tell he was a very good talent,” the Welsh striker said.
“I would like to have played with him longer but when Sir Alex come’s calling it’s very difficult to turn that down.
“It’s a real honour for to have been asked to come over and take part. It’s a celebration today of his life and that’s how it should be looked.”
Former Manchester United team mates Ryan Giggs, and Man United manager for the day Roy Keane, sat side by side in the press conference before the game and were in great form as they remembered Miller fondly.
“Liam was a very talented player, a really nice guy. A quiet guy and very humble. It’s a great occasion for his family and we are really looking forward to it,” reflected Keane.
“There is a nice buzz going around and it’s great to catch up with the players but once we get onto the pitch their competitive nature will kick in.
“You see the reaction from everyone in Cork and around the country and we hope to have a special day today.
“The people you see here today are the ones I knew would turn up. You don’t get to the top in any sport unless you are very strong. When we talk about Liam being quiet, it was a nice quiet.”
Giggs said: “Liam was a talented player and a quiet lad. It’s a great occasion for his family and it shows that football comes together in times like this and it will be a great occasion.
“I’m not sure who the best player is out there these days but I’ll have a better idea at about five o clock.”
When five o’clock came there were lots of tired legs and worn out bodies.
One thing everyone was in agreement about when the football was done and the stadium began to empty was that it was a fitting tribute full of pride, full of emotion and a day that will live long in the memory.