Football says farewell to former Leeds United midfielder Liam Miller

Floral tributes are left as mourners arrive at St. John the Baptist Church in Ovens, County Cork, for the funeral of former Leeds United midfielder Liam Miller. PIC: PA
Floral tributes are left as mourners arrive at St. John the Baptist Church in Ovens, County Cork, for the funeral of former Leeds United midfielder Liam Miller. PIC: PA
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The world of football today came together to say goodbye to former Leeds United midfielder Liam Miller.

A requiem mass took place at the Church of St John the Baptist in Ovens, Co Cork and was followed by burial in the adjoining cemetery.

Miller, who played 36 times for Leeds United scoring once between 2005 and 2006, died on Friday at the age of 36 after suffering from cancer.

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Former Republic player and manager Steve Staunton attended the funeral, along with Roy Keane, Martin O’Neill and John O’Shea. Miller’s former Republic team-mates Kevin Doyle and Aiden McGeady also attended.

Miller who played for Celtic, Manchester United and Sunderland had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Miller grew up in Ovens, a village in County Cork, and although he played Gaelic football, his real passion was soccer, with a fondness for Celtic taken from his father Billy, a Scotsman from Motherwell.

Amid a flood of tributes, one from Celtic’s official Twitter account said: “Everyone at #CelticFC is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former midfielder Liam Miller. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time. RIP Liam, YNWA.”

Celtic players wore black armbands in Mr Miller’s memory during their William Hill Scottish Cup match against Partick Thistle on Saturday.

David Beckham and Wayne Rooney were among those who led the tributes to their former Manchester United team-mate.

Beckham posted: “Our thoughts are with Liam’s family .. Rest In Peace”.

Both played with the 36-year-old during his two-year spell at Old Trafford in the 2005/06 season and the club expressed their sympathy on Saturday.

A tweet read: “Manchester United is deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of our former midfielder Liam Miller. We extend our condolences to his loved ones at this extremely difficult time.”

Manchester United players wore black armbands during the team’s Premier League clash at Newcastle on Sunday in memory of Miller.

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

Republic manager O’Neill has described Miller as a “fantastic man”.

O’Neill, who gave Miller his Celtic debut, said: “Liam’s passing is very sad and he will be greatly missed. He was an excellent footballer and a fantastic man.”

Irish president Michael D Higgins said it was with great sadness that he had learned of the death of Miller, who brought skill and passion to his career in football at home and abroad.

“In his too short life he contributed so much, from his making his professional debut in 2000 and earning his first cap for the Republic of Ireland in 2004, going on to play for clubs such as Cork City, Celtic, Manchester United and Hibernian,” 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.”

Ahead of the funeral Cork City manager John Caulfield encouraged the people of Cork to turn out in force as a show of support.

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

Sir Martin Sorrell Photo : Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

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