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Sunday 11 December 2016

Ireland squad unfazed after cancelled flight causes chaos

Martin Breheny in Melbourne

Published 31/10/2011 | 05:00

The victorious Ireland squad's Qantas flight to Sydney from Melbourne was cancelled 10 minutes before they were due to board
The victorious Ireland squad's Qantas flight to Sydney from Melbourne was cancelled 10 minutes before they were due to board

THE sudden shutdown by Qantas airlines caused major disruption for the Irish International Rules team who were caught up in the drama just as they were about to fly out of Melbourne Airport on Saturday evening.

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The squad, who won by 44 points against Australia in their first Test on Friday, was all set to embark their flight to Sydney on their way to the Gold Coast when, just 10 minutes before boarding time, were told their flight had been cancelled. There were chaotic scenes at the airport as the implications of the Qantas dispute became apparent to the many passengers who were booked to travel.

The GAA party were facilitated overnight at a hotel near the airport while attempts got under way to book them on another airline.

Pressure for seats on other carriers grew rapidly but the GAA succeeded in making an alternative booking, albeit for 24 hours later.

They were due to travel to Sydney on Saturday, prior to moving on to a nearby resort in Terrigal until Tuesday when they were to move up to Gold Coast in Queensland.

However, when the Saturday departure had to be cancelled, that plan was abandoned in favour of travelling directly to Gold Coast which will host the second Test against Australia on Friday. The party were accommodated on a Virgin Airlines flight to Gold Coast last night.

GAA's Feargal McGill said the team were very lucky to get the situation sorted out so quickly. "We were lucky with the hotel that we got. It could have been a lot worse. A lot of people were lounging around hotels without a room. We were all checked in by 8.30.

"The players are in great spirit. They understand that it couldn't be avoided. They are still upbeat and there was plenty of craic in the camp."

Irish Independent

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