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20,000 hit the streets to make Walk of Dreams a huge success

THOUSANDS of football fans stepped out for the inaugural Walk of Dreams.

The Herald teamed up with the John Giles Foundation as it spearheaded the first Walk of Dreams project, which proved to be a resounding success.

Many stars of the football world turned up to support the cause, as well as thousands of children from football clubs around the country, who were kitted out in their gear to take part in the walk.

More than 20,000 people walked for their clubs yesterday, -- alongside 3,500 volunteers -- at 14 different locations around the country.

Fresh from Saturday's victory against Macedonia, Ireland's captain Robbie Keane and manager Giovanni Trapattoni led the walk in Dublin, with Keane giving a speech at the beginning of the procession in Fitzwilliam Square in the city centre.

Joking

RTE football pundit Eamon Dunphy may be one of Trap's biggest critics, put the pair put any differences aside for the good cause. They were spotted laughing and joking during the festivities -- and were both decked out in their official Walk of Dreams T-shirts. Bill O'Herlihy also stepped out to support his RTE colleague and good friend Mr Giles.

FAI chief John Delaney, Dublin's Lord Mayor Gerry Breen and legendary broadcaster Jimmy Magee were just some of the other big names at the Dublin walk, which kicked off in Fitzwilliam Square at 3pm and finished at the Aviva Stadium at 3.30pm.

More than 800 clubs took part throughout the country. In Dublin alone, members from Ashbourne FC, St Kevin's Boys in Whitehall, St Joseph's Girls in Sallynoggin, Drumcondra FC and Glebe North, as well as Malahide United, Baldoyle United and Ballymun United, took part.

"I'm delighted with the way the Walk of Dreams has gone," Mr Giles said. "I've travelled all over the country and met so many wonderful people who have supported this venture and I would like to thank everyone who has helped make this inaugural year the success it is.

"I'd like to thank John Delaney and everyone in the FAI who has given their full support. I would also like to put on record my appreciation for Noel Mooney and the team who have been so professional in their approach.

"It shows you that by pulling together so much can be achieved and I'm grateful to everyone in the football family.

"We've proved a point here today and soccer can be proud of the efforts of all of our clubs and communities who have lent their support to this worthy venture. "It's something we can build on and for that I am most grateful to all concerned."