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23rd Jul 2018

Joe Brolly spoke a lot of sense about the Liam Miller charity match row on The Sunday Game

Dave Hanratty

Joe Brolly

“We should give this our blessing. It’s exactly the sort of thing that the GAA should be promoting.”

The Liam Miller charity match row continues to roll on.

On Saturday, it appeared that the upcoming event to honour the late Manchester United, Celtic and Republic of Ireland midfielder had been moved from Turners Cross to Páirc Uí Chaoimh to meet the huge demand for tickets.

On Sunday, however, match organiser Michael O’Flynn shot down those rumours, labelling reports that emerged on social media as “completely and utterly wrong” and noting that a meeting is set to take place with the GAA at an undetermined point in the future.

The situation has generated huge public criticism towards the GAA, with many criticising last week’s official statement on the matter while demanding that the match be moved to the bigger venue.

Speaking on The Sunday Game, Joe Brolly noted that he’s been “knocking around” the GAA courts for the past 15 to 20 years.

“The GAA rules, the law reminds me a wee bit of Father Ted’s great line about Catholicism; it’s terribly vague and nobody really knows what it means.

“But we clearly have, in my view, the discretion to allow this to be used. Rule 51 allows our property to be used so long as it doesn’t conflict with the objectives or aims of the association. And all we have to do is characterise this for what it is – it’s a charity event.

“Once you classify it as a charity event, we also have an agreement with central government about the funds, the €30 million that was given for Páirc Uí Chaoimh and that includes use for charitable purposes.”

Brolly went on to note the moral duty that the GAA have towards their community.

“I think that, apart from everything else, the GAA must be seen as a friend. We are leaders in the community and that’s how we position ourselves.

“I must say I am very optimistic that John Horan, who I believe to be a man of very good intent, I think he’s probably gotten to this a bit late, but I think that this will be sorted out.

“As Tomás said, the GAA family in Cork deeply want this. Everybody wants this to happen. We should give this our blessing. It’s exactly the sort of thing that the GAA should be promoting.”

Earlier, Tomás Ó Sé gave the view from those in Miller’s native Cork who regard moving the match to Páirc Uí Chaoimh as “a no-brainer”, noting that “the PR side of the GAA let themselves down.”

“The normal people see concerts going into pitches, they see American Football games going in, yet when an event like this, which won’t necessarily impact on any GAA activity, is stopped, it just comes across really, really bad,” Ó Sé continued.

“I think the GAA, the way that they hold out and don’t react for a few days doesn’t help them at all. It’s a no-brainer. 7,000 go into Turners Cross, 45,000 go into Páirc Uí Chaoimh. The GAA leave stuff to fester and the anger towards them builds.

Summing up, Ó Sé pointed to how public perception and activism has changed.

“It’s a different age. You have social media. It’s the wrong decision.”

Currently scheduled to take place at Turners Cross, the Liam Miller charity fixture will see Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane manage opposing sides in the form of an Ireland and Celtic XI versus a Manchester United XI.