BY GER McCARTHY
NEW Cork City signing Liam Miller made no secret of his intention to make an impact in the Leesider’s upcoming League of Ireland campaign following a recent appearance in West Cork.
The former Manchester United and Celtic midfielder was part of John Caulfield’s squad that visited Skibbereen to claim the Dave Wigginton Memorial Cup recently.
‘The Skibbereen pitch was excellent and I was impressed with them (Skibb) in that they worked extremely hard throughout the 90 minutes and made it difficult for us,’ Miller commented to The Southern Star.
‘They (Skibb) defended well and got numbers behind the ball which made it difficult for us to break them down until we got the opening goal and it became a different game then.’
Miller and his family recently returned from a long stint in Australia where the Cork native enjoyed success in Perth and Brisbane before making the decision to come home and join Caulfield’s squad.
Life has been hectic for the Miller family of late so what has it been like reacclimatising to plummeting temperatures in his native Cork since returning from Australia?
‘I suppose the cold weather was a bit of a shock to the system the first few days home alright,’ noted the former Celtic midfielder.
‘It is not like I wasn’t expecting it though having lived in Ireland for so long. The City squad spent a few days up the country recently as part of our pre-season programme and played one or two games in freezing conditions. I’ve just been getting used to playing in that environment again but it’s grand once you get back into it.’
An opportunity to hook up with close friend Colin Healy in the centre of the park was another reason Miller took up the option to play League of Ireland football.
‘Well, Colin is someone I know tremendously well since I was young and we have always kept in touch, even when I was playing in Australia,’ commented Miller.
‘We both travelled over to Celtic at the same time and played together there for a while before going our separate ways. It is a real pleasure to play alongside him again now as he is a great player and friend.’
Miller is unique in that he left the British game and made a successful career on the other side of the world when still relatively young.
So would the former Manchester United star encourage young Irish footballers to broaden their horizons in a foreign country (other than the British Isles) like he did?
‘I think every individual footballer is different and has to make their own mind up as to what’s best for their family and career,’ Miller answered.
‘When I look back, the A-League proved a massive plus for me, personally. At the time, it was a new adventure for me and going somewhat into the unknown but I will always look back on my time there with fond memories.
‘I was successful over there too, getting to a Grand Final with Perth Glory before managing to win the title with Brisbane the following year.
‘I was delighted with the overall experience of playing in Australia and yeah, I’d definitely recommend it to any fellow professional.’
So a new season playing for his native Cork beckons and with that, raised expectation levels following last season’s brush with the title.
‘All the lads are eager and just looking forward to getting the new campaign underway. Everyone in the squad has been working extremely hard in pre-season so we just want to get on with it now,’ Miller said.