Hundreds mourn family man Liam Miller


The funeral of former Celtic player Liam Miller has taken place in Ireland.

Miller lost his battle with cancer at the tragically youthful age of 36 last Friday, with his funeral attended by a host of his former team-mates and managers on Monday.

Hundreds of mourners packed into the small St John the Baptist Church in the village of Ovens, Co Cork, with leading names from Irish football.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and assistant manager Roy Keane were joined by former internationals John O'Shea, Denis Irwin, Kevin Kilbane and Kevin Doyle, as well as past managers Brian Kerr and Steve Staunton.

After the rousing words of You'll Never Walk Alone were read to the congregation, Miller's brother-in-law... And he did. And he dreamed of playing for Ireland. Liam wanted to survive for his family.

At the opening of the mass, Father Liam O'Hickey, parish priest in Ovens, offered prayers for the footballer's family.

He also revealed that Liam's father referred to him as a youngster as "my little Stanley Matthews".

Fr Hickey said Liam was a loving husband to Clare and a great father to his three children whom he loved.

"It's just bad. They've had to look at Liam and mind him and care for him over the last few months since he came back from America, knowing he probably hadn't a very good long term future".

After leaving United in 2006, Miller later cited then-manager Sir Alex Ferguson as one of his biggest influences in football, alongside his family and Martin O'Neill.

"Liam Miller an honest man. Liam Miller a humble man. Liam Miller a gas man. Liam Miller a sportsman".

Mr Sheedy said if he lived a dozen lifetimes he would not be "half the man" Miller was and that they were mourning an individual who was among "the best in the world".

In Ireland, where Miller won 21 caps for the Republic of Ireland, he has been described as a major loss to Irish sport.

O'Neill, who gave Miller his Celtic debut, said: 'Liam's passing is very sad and he will be greatly missed.

After two years at Old Trafford, including a loan spell with Leeds United, he left for Sunderland before heading north of the border to play for Hibs.

Manchester United wore black armbands for their clash with Newcastle yesterday in his memory.

He is survived by his wife Clare and his three children Kory, Leo and Belle.

The Irishman, who grew up locally in Ovens, was later laid to rest in the Church of St John the Baptist's adjoining cemetery.