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The Green Army facing massive security blitz as Trap's lads take on Tallinn

THE Estonians are hell-bent on scuppering Irish hopes of qualifying for a major tournament in 10 years -- and that's even before a ball is kicked.

A decade of near misses, hard luck stories and handballs could be consigned to history starting on Friday with victory here in Tallinn, where the authorities intend making life difficult for Irish fans lucky enough to get a ticket for the first leg of the Euro play-off.

The Green Army, renowned for loyal support and good-natured fun, have been warned they face massive security restrictions as they cheer on Trap and the boys.

Fans who are used to strolling into the Aviva Stadium at the last minute may be in trouble with the A La Coq Arena and their over-zealous security staff.

Security will be extraordinarily tight around the Tallinn venue with supporters wanting to bring flags and banners inside the ground being warned to arrive up to five-and- a-half hours early, the Herald can reveal.

Trapattoni's side will kick-off against Estonia at 9.45pm local time but match organisers say banners must be brought in between 4pm and 5.30pm.

Officials will be entitled to ask Irish supporters to produce their passports or internationally recognised identification so they can only gain admittance to the Irish section of the stadium.

Any Irish fan travelling with no ticket who purchases one from a local tout will not be allowed into the stadium after splashing their hard-earned cash to travel to the Baltic state.

The Green Army will be brought into the stadium via their own entrances and will be segregated inside with separate catering and toilet facilities to ensure there is no contact with their football rivals.

"Please also note that away fans who have bought tickets to any other sectors of the stadium might not be allowed to enter the stadium," the FA said, adding that fans "who have clear signs of having consumed alcohol, are drunk and/or disturb other spectators in any way, might not be allowed to enter the stadium".

Tallinn is also expecting an influx of prostitutes and a spokeswoman for an escort agency in the Estonian capital claimed it was bringing in girls from around Estonia and neighbouring countries to deal with demand.

kdoyle@herald.ie


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