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GREEN ARMY: 10,000 fans to march on Ukraine and Poland to make Ireland best-supported team

UP to 10,000 Joxers are set to pack their bags for Kiev.

Early estimates suggest that as many as 10,000 Irish people will head east for Euro 2012.

Although we will be ranked as the tournament's minnows, the boys in green will be among the best supported teams in what will be the biggest sporting exodus in Irish history.

We won't know until December 2 if Trapattoni's army will be based in Poland or the Ukraine. But even before they departed Tallinn, some fans were planning their summer journeys.

And supporters who want to follow the thrifty Joxer, from Christy Moore's Euro '88 song, Joxer Goes to Stuttgart, will be hoping to pack their Polski phrasebooks.

Hostels in Krakow were today still quoting prices of just €8 a night for a single room next June.

However, if we end up in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, prices will be significantly more.



Mouth-watering

Ireland will be in the bottom pot for the draw meaning we could end up with a mouth-watering series of games against Spain, England and Russia.

"No fewer than 1.4 million fans will be expected at the stadiums and the matches will be broadcast live in more than 200 territories around the world," according to UEFA.

Ryanair and Aer Lingus both fly to the Poland but a trip to Kiev would involve a lot more country-hopping as there is no direct route from Dublin.

Some 3,500 fans made their way to Estonia for last Friday's sensational play-off win with many finding ways through Copenhagen, Oslo, Helsinki and Amsterdam.

But the FAI are now hoping that three times that number could go to the actual finals.

Experts were predicting today that the tournament could land €100m for our beleaguered economy as people splurge on jerseys and nights out.

Previous big soccer wins have also been linked to baby booms.

Organisers have promised to stamp out ticket touting and have actually reduced the price of match tickets compared to the 2008 tournament.

A basic ticket for a group game will be as low as €30, with the most expensive seats costing €120. But if Robbie Keane is able to do the unimaginable and lead Ireland all the way to the final, tickets will range from €50 to €600.

It all kicks off in Warsaw on June 8 with the final scheduled for July 1 in Kiev.

kdoyle@herald.ie


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