A bumper crowd of 42,858 packed into Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork as a Manchester United legends side took on a Republic of Ireland and Glasgow Celtic combination as a tribute to the late Liam Miller.
Miller tragically passed away earlier this year following a battle with cancer and the contest was arranged to raise funds for his wife and young children.
The calibre of legends on show was testament to Miller’s fine career that included spells at Manchester United, Glasgow Celtic, Leeds United, Sunderland and Australian sides Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar.
United raced into a two goal lead as Denis Irwin converted from the penalty spot after Johan Mjalby was adjudged to have fouled Nicky Butt in the penalty area, before Louis Saha got onto the end of a long pass from Ryan Giggs to slot the ball past David Forde.
The Ireland/Celtic side pulled a goal back just before the interval when Robbie Keane cut in from the left and fired a low drive into the net.
There were changes galore in the second half, with Cork’s own Roy Keane getting a thunderous reception when he entered the field on 61 minutes, taking the captain’s armband from Giggs in the process.
However, it was the Ireland/Celtic side who got the only goal of the half when Miller’s childhood friend Colin Healy hammered home a shot after good build up play involving Robbie Keane and Damien Duff.
With the scores tied at full time, the novelty of a penalty shootout provided the crowd with even more entertainment, especially once four of the first six were missed.
Mark McNulty in the United goal played a blinder and his save from Ian Harte gave Dion Dublin the chance to win the game for United and he dually obliged.
It was a fantastic occasion at the GAA ground and Alywn Robinson of was there to capture the best of the action for Back Page Football; you can check out some of his photos below and more of Al’s work can be found work on his website and Facebook..
Republic of Ireland/Glasgow Celtic Legends: David Forde, Stephen Carr, Stephen Kelly, Richard Dunne, Kenny Cunningham, Johan Mjallby, Stephen McManus, Ian Harte, Stephen McPhail, Damien Duff, Colin Healy, Paul Lambert, Andy Reid, Stiliyan Petrov, Graham Kavanagh, Kevin Kilbane, Tosh McKinlay, Damien Duff, Shaun Maloney, Kevin Doyle, Robbie Keane.
Manchester United Legends: Kevin Pilkington, Mark McNulty, Gary Neville, Michael Clegg, John O’Shea, Wes Brown, Mikael Silvestre, Denis Irwin, David May, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Quinton Fortune, Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, Alan Smith, Louis Saha, Dion Dublin.