All Ireland Hall of Fame Tribute: Soccer Category
Liam Miller Born 13th February 1981 - Died 9th February 2018
Cork’s Irish International Soccer Star Won 52 CapsAt All International Levels
Sometimes, but thankfully not too often, the winds of change, will blow you off track when you have your mind set on doing something very important. A matter that was important to me and me alone, was to arrange a personal meeting with a Cork soccer icon and induct him into the All Ireland Hall Of Fame Online Gallery.
I had no timeframe to achieve my target. No Fuss, No Bright Lights, just an interview to compose an Online editorial Hall Of Fame tribute to a man who had played with Glasgow Celtic and ManU and was capped for the Republic Of Ireland (senior international caps) on 21 occasions. On Friday night, 9th February 2018, at midnight, I listened to the late news bulletin and was rocked sideways when the announcer said “Liam Miller” soccer icon had lost his battle against cancer a few days short of his 37th birthday.
Cancer had visited my wife in 2016 and I had a good idea of the trauma that rides along when the consultant medics break the first news; You Have Cancer; But We Can Treat It. Liam Miller came home to Cork in December 2017 but his illness came with him. Those of us who write about sports legends rejoice researching the facts and figures of a great players career. It is a job tailor made for historians and in my dreams I had hoped one day to sit down with Liam in a quiet corner and talk about times past and present in his football career. That will not now happen.
My Hall Of Fame tribute to Liam is now a posthumous tribute and although our sports paths never joined up, I felt a,s a fellow Corkonian, I knew Liam Miller. Only a tiny few great footballers get to play in the first team colours of Glasgow Celtic and Manchester United. Liam Miller, Irish soccer international, achieved that monumental honour.
Liam was born in the parish of Ovens, Co. Cork, in 1981, a hot bed for G.A.A. and Liam’s father, a Scotsman from Motherwell, was a keen Glasgow Celtic fan. When Celtic came calling for Liam in 1996 he was just 15 years old. The apprenticeship at Celtic went well and at just 19 years of age, former Celtic player and manager, Kenny Dalglish, put the Irishman into his team as a substitute in a match against Dundee United.
Martin O’Neill, Irish soccer manager, was the Glasgow Celtic supremo who promoted Liam to first team duty for the 2003/04 season and that was after a loan spell in Denmark to enhance his career. In that pioneering season Liam Miller claimed a Scottish Premier League medal. Meantime Liam’s progress was monitored by the legendary ManU manager, Alex Ferguson, who subsequently brought him to Old Trafford.
Capped for Ireland prior to arriving at Old Trafford, he made his Ireland debut V Chech Republic at the old Lansdowne Road, Dublin, in a 2-1 victory for the Irish team. Back at ManU and in the company of Roy Keane, Liam had very tough competition for a regular midfield berth and finally he was obliged to link up with Leeds United in a loan arrangement in 2005.
In 2006 a huge Irish army of soccer fans were roaring on Sunderland as Roy Keane took over as manager and Roy set his sights on linking up again with fellow Corkman,Liam Miller. In the red and white stripes of Sunderland, Liam played his part as Roy steered Sunderland back to the Premier League after winning the 2006/07 Championship. From the highs of Sunderland, Liam’s next transition was to London and Loftus Road to link up with Queens Park Rangers. This move failed to click into gear and after signing in January 2009, Liam was on the road again in May of the same year.
Travelling back up north he stopped off at Edinburgh, home to another Scottish club with close links to Ireland. Hibernians welcomed the Corkman into their camp and there he resided for two seasons. The next move for a man making a living out of professional soccer was down under in Brisbane and Melbourne. Australian and American soccer were importing big names from all around the globe to improve their image and competition was keen for first team places. In Australia’s Premier League, Liam managed an impressive 75 appearances between Perth Glory (49); Brisbane Roar (24) and Melbourne City (2) and the Aussie expedition ceased in 2014.
For season 2015, Liam came back to his homeland of Cork, Ireland, amid huge fanfare and expectation. He was now aged aged 34 and in the twilight hours of an extraordinary football life that took him all around the globe. Cork City FC were his new club but the Leeside club were constantly coming up against the mighty Dundalk, who were ruling the football land all over Ireland at that time.
City finished runners up in both the league and cup with Liam in their ranks and sadly that season of 2015/16 was to be Liam’s farewell to Irish soccer and Cork City. The curtain dramatically came down when Liam left Cork to join an American soccer team in 2016; Wilmington Hammerheads. He made 25 appearances and scored one goal in his American debut year.
However the Corkman’s diagnosis with Pancreas Cancer in 2017 shattered the football and family ambitions of a Famous Son Of Cork. His death shook all of Cork city and county and the global football community. On Monday 12th February 2018, Liam Miller will make his final journey to his eternal resting place at Kilcrea, Ovens, Co. Cork, right beside the local catholic church and as mourners gather to salute a Famous Cork footballer, the name Liam Miller will be incorporated into our legendary collection of Irish sports legends.
On behalf of all our national and international browsers/readers, we extend to his wife Clare, his parents, brothers and sister and all the extended Miller family, our deepest sympathy and prayers.
May you rest in peace Liam, side by side with those other Cork sports giants, Ringie, Dónie Leahy and all the hundreds of outstanding Cork sports ambassadors, waiting to greet you at heavens door.
Glasgow Celtic; 2000/04; 26 Appearances; Scored 2 Goals
Aarhus, Denmark, (Loan Spell); 2001; 18 Appearances.
Manchester United; 2004/06; 9 Appearances;
Leeds United; 2005/06; (Loan Spell) 28 Appearances; Scored 1 Goal
Sunderland; 2006/09; 57 Appearances; Scored 3 Goals
Queens Park Rangers; 2009; 13 Appearances;
Hibernian (Scotland); 2009/11; 66 Appearances; Scored 7 Goals
Perth Glory (Australia); 2011/13; 49 Appearances; Scored 2 Goals
Brisbane Roar (Australia); 2013/14; 24 Appearances; Scored 3 Goals
Melbourne City (Australia); 2014; 2 Appearances
Cork City; 2015/16; 29 Appearances;
Wilmington Hammerheads (U.S.) 2016; 25 Appearances; Scored 1 Goal
Total Club Appearances: 346 Total Goals Scored: 19
Republic Of Ireland International Career:
1998; Under 16; 9 Caps; 1998/99 Under 18; 7 Caps; 2002; Under 20; 4 Caps;
2001/03; Under 21; 11 Caps; 2004/09; Senior International; 21 Caps Scored 1 Goal
Derry JF Doody
11th February 2018