Man United, Celtic mourn former player Liam Miller


FORMER Man Utd and Celtic footballer Liam Miller's funeral has taken place today after the star's tragic cancer death on Friday. Among tributes at his funeral Mass in rural Ireland, another message that stood out was that he was a sportsman with decency, humour, integrity and humility.

Miller had been fighting pancreatic cancer for the past number of months.

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, who was Celtic boss when the midfielder made his breakthrough into the first team in 2004, was also in attendance along with Miller's former Ireland manager Steve Staunton.

Fr Hickey recited the words of the footballing anthem "You will never Walk Alone" during the course of the Mass.

"Liam fought his illness with the same resilience with which he played", he said.

"We should all be proud of Liam Miller and for him to be taken away from his family and friends at the age of 36 is a disgusting, terrible tragedy".

"There was never a father like Liam - he gave every ounce of himself to his children".

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

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"Liam wanted to survive for his family".

Mourners heard how Miller was known by Billy, a Scot from Motherwell and a passionate Celtic fan, as "my little Stanley Matthews".

Mr Sheedy said Miller was one of those rare people who realised all of their dreams.

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

Mr Higgins said. "As president of Ireland I send my condolences to his family and friends, and to all those who love and support Irish sport and who will keenly feel his loss".

The Cork native also played for QPR, Hibernian, Australian clubs Perth Glory, Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City, home-town club Cork City and, most recently, Wilmington Hammerheads in the US.

Celtic players wore black armbands in memory of their former midfielder during their William Hill Scottish Cup match against Partick Thistle on Saturday.

His brother-in-law Dan Sheedy spoke of the heartbreak that had rained down on his wife Clare, his three young children, his parents, brothers and sister and his wife's family leaving them heartbroken and devastated.

Miller was buried in the cemetery adjoining the St John the Baptist Church.