Packie Bonner in action during the 1990 World Cup finals
Each year the board of St. Patrick’s Festival honours one or more persons for their outstanding achievements and contribution to Irish life with the title of Grand Marshal. This year Packie Bonner follows in the footsteps of a distinguished group of previous Grand Marshal’s in accepting the role for the 17th March.
As Grand Marshal Packie will have a wonderfully memorable day on Wednesday, 17th March, kicked off with a VIP breakfast held in Marks & Spencers Rooftop Restaurant on Grafton St., and from there he will be taken to the start of the Parade route at Parnell Square and will travel the 3km route in an open top vehicle welcomed by what is expected to be crowds of over 650,000.
Packie Bonner has been one of the finest contributors to Irish sporting history and is one of the country’s most beloved sporting legends. He is also dedicated to fostering the future of sport in Ireland and in his current role as technical Director for the FAI plays an instrumental role in the development of youth soccer.
Packie Bonner made his international debut on his 21st birthday in 1981 against Poland. He went on to write his name into Irish football history on many occasions over the next 13 years, he became first choice for Ireland winning 80 caps.
A native of Donegal, Bonner started his career with Keadue Rovers and, in 1978, he became Jock Stein’s last ever Celtic signing. The following year, he made his first team debut and over the next 12 years, he made the number one jersey at Parkhead his own as he made 642 appearances for the Hoops before retiring in 1996.
Packie won Scottish League Championships, Scottish FA Cups and Scottish League Cups with the Glasgow club while performing with distinction for his country following his first cap against Poland in 1981.He is best remembered for his penalty save from Daniel Timofte at the 1990 World Cup, which, along with David O’Leary’s successful strike, earned Ireland a place in the quarterfinals.
In 2003 , Bonner was named as the Technical Director and Goalkeeping Coach for the Football Association of Ireland. In addition, he has more recently, made a career as a football presenter with TV3 Ireland.
“As an international spectacle and as an Irishman I am very honoured to be invited to lead this years St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I hope that I can do the role justice like some of the greats who have gone before me. It had always been a great day and a great occasion for Ireland and this year I am sure it will be no different,” said Packie Bonner today commenting on his appointment as Grand Marshal of St. Patrick’s Festival Parade.
“The role of Parade Grand Marshal is given each year to an inspiring Irish Person or Persons to honour their achievements at home and on the world stage. Packie Bonner is the embodiment of our sporting Irish spirit. In his long career as the Irish International soccer team’s goalkeeper and in his current position with the FAI he is a marvellous ambassador for Ireland and Sport and we are delighted he has accepted the role”, commented Susan Kirby, CEO St. Patrick’s Festival at today’s announcement.
The theme of this year’s Festival Parade is ‘The Extraordinary World’ which will be interpreted by the street theatre pageant companies and performers taking part, drawing you into the artistic sensation that transforms the streets of Dublin each year on St. Patrick’s Day. The show, which begins at 12pm, is broadcast live on RTE 1 and, including the highlights shown later in the day, attracts over 800,000 viewers.
The St. Patrick’s Festival Parade is just one of the many incredible events taking place this year during the six-day national celebrations running from Friday 12th March until Wednesday 17th March. Celebrating its 15th birthday, St. Patrick’s Festival promises the very best in street theatre, an explosive fireworks display, traditional and contemporary Irish music, comedy, visual arts, dance, a treasure hunt, GaelSpraoi Irish language events, and wonderful family fun. Get on board the carousel of fun and make the festival yours! Check out www.stpatricksfestival.ie for a full list of events follow us on Twitter @stpatricksfest or be our friend on Facebook Patrick’s Fest.
You can also download the Festival App by texting PATSFEST to 51315* or visit The App Store for the free iPhone App. * Cost of text is standard rate text (max 14 cent). Free iPhone Ap on iTunes App Store.