Memories of a musical tribute to the late Liam Miller

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A SINGER-songwriter from Cork, who penned a touching tribute to the late Celtic and Manchester United footballer, Liam Miller, who tragically passed away in 2018 as a result of pancreatic cancer, hopes that it will keep his memory alive.

February 13, 2021, would have been the footballer’s 40th birthday, and with that in mind, Myles Gaffney (above left with Roy Keane) got in touch with The Irish Voice in the hope of giving the song, Liam Miller, Steady Boy, a wider audience and sharing the story of the songwriting process.

Prior to the Liam’s rise to fame, he attended Coachford College and played Gaelic games for his hometown club Éire Óg and represented Cork GAA at youth level, but the footballer—who would eventually amass 21 caps for Ireland, scoring one goal in the process—came to prominence at Celtic under Martin O’Neill in the 2003-04 season for a string of excellent performances, most notably perhaps against Lyon in the Champions League, a match in which he scored.

This form led to interest from Manchester United, who followed that up by signing him on a free transfer in the summer of 2004. He spent two years at Old Trafford, before going on to play for the likes of Sunderland, Queens Park Rangers and Hibs, before eventually finding his way back to his hometown team Cork City.

In 2017 he made it public that he was battling pancreatic cancer. He died on February 9 2018, only four days shy of his 37th birthday. He and his wife Clare had three children together—two sons: Kory and Leo; and a daughter: Belle.

A benefit football match was played on September 25 2018, with the intention of raising funds for Miller’s family and charities. The GAA allowed the game to be played at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, which saw a Manchester United XI play a team composed of former Celtic and Ireland players, with the former winning on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

The match was organised in part by another former Celtic and Manchester United star, and fellow Corkonian, Roy Keane, who, as it happens is a good friend of the singer-songwriter. He spoke of that friendship to The Irish Voice and also told us the story behind the musical tribute to Liam.

“My relationship with Roy Keane goes back a long time,” Myles said. “Myself and Roy come from the north side of Cork City and my mother died when I was ten years old and Roy was really good to me after her passing, so I also wrote Roy his own song Keano, as a token to say thanks for all the happiness he brought to my life in a very sad time.

“With regards to Liam, I was asked to write a song for the match day—which was to be played at the Gala Dinner after the game at Cork City Hall—but also for television in association with Virgin Media who were supplying the game to 88 stations worldwide. I spoke to Patrick Kinsella, the CEO of Virgin Media Ireland and told him to take the song and play it and he was truly delighted to be able to do so.

“The initial idea came via a man named Con Dineen, who is a referee here in Cork City. He encouraged me to write a song for Liam. After doing a bit of research, I wrote Liam Miller, Steady Boy. I contacted Mark McNulty—a lifelong and best friend of Liam who is also the goalkeeper for League of Ireland side Cork City—to arrange for Liam’s family to hear the song and give it their seal of approval. He passed onto me  the phone number of Liam’s mum, Bridie, and once she, his father and wife heard the song, they fell in love with the track and immediately and gave me the thumbs up to release the song.

“I wrote this song to ensure that Liam’s memory will live on, not just among the supporters of the clubs he played for, but the whole sporting world in general. As a proud Irishman I take no greater joy than writing songs for my fellow countrymen it’s an absolute pleasure. RIP Liam Miller.”

You can listen to the song by clicking on the following link: https://fb.watch/1lEKjFeSJu

gerard@theirishvoice.com

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