LIAM Miller has been remembered as a family man above all else.

The former Celtic and Manchester United player died on Friday at the age of 36 after suffering from cancer.

Among deeply moving tributes at his funeral mass in rural Ireland, including that he achieved the rarest feat of living his dreams, one message that stood out was that he was a sportsman with decency, humour, honesty, integrity and humility.

Hundreds of mourners packed into the small St John the Baptist Church in the village of Ovens, near Ballincollig, with leading names from Irish football paying respects.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill and assistant manager Roy Keane were joined by former internationals John O’Shea, Denis Irwin, Kevin Kilbane and Kevin Doyle, as well as past managers Brian Kerr and Steve Staunton.

After the rousing words of football anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone were read out to the congregation, Miller’s brother-in-law Dan Sheedy gave a hugely emotional eulogy.

“To those who knew Liam best, Liam’s legacy won’t be about anything he achieved on a football pitch, though, on that, he achieved what was to most of us an impossible fantasy” he said.

“Liam was that most rare of things – he lived his dreams.

“He dreamed of playing for (his father) Billy’s beloved Celtic. And he did. He dreamed of playing for Man United. And he did. And he dreamed of playing for Ireland. And he did.

“He achieved these dreams with a combination of his skill, sublime as it was, his humble personality and a fierce determination we have all seen resurface these last few of months.

“Football is not how we are going to remember Liam.”

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

He was also said to be entranced, besotted and utterly in love with his wife Claire and that he gave every fibre of his being to his children’s happiness.

“There was never a father like Liam,” Sheedy told the mourners.

Among the gifts brought to the altar during the mass were football jerseys, rosary beads and photos of his family, his First Holy Communion and one of him with team-mates.