Our man John Giles to be St Patrick's Day Grand Marshall
JOHN GILES will be Grand Marshall for this year's St Patrick's Day Parade in the capital, it was announced today.
The ex-Irish international said he is "proud" and "honoured" after being picked to lead next month's festivities.
While the identity of the Grand Marshall has been kept a secret for several months, Giles was thrilled to be asked by festival organisers.
The parade will begin just a few miles from the former Leeds United, WBA and Manchester United legend's family home in Ormond square in the North Inner City.
The announcement comes on the day Ireland play the Czech Republic as part of their preparation for this summer's European Championships.
The 71-year-old Herald writer admitted that leading the parade will be a "special day".
"I'm proud and honoured to be the Grand Marshall of the St Patrick's Day parade this year," he said.
"It's a great occasion and I'm really looking forward to it. I remember attending the parade when I was a child myself and this will be a very special day for me.
"I have always been extremely proud to represent Ireland but that was usually on a football pitch, so this will be a completely different experience for me."
Organisers spent weeks considering the ideal candidate from the world of Irish sport and media.
Johnny will follow in the footsteps of sporting legends Packie Bonner and Katie Taylor, as well as former RTE commentator Micheal O'Muircheartaigh.
Last year more than 550,000 people turned out to see the annual parade, which featured more than 3,000 performers. St Patrick's Festival CEO Susan Kirby said Johnny was a "fantastic choice".