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fans arrive in sopot for huge spain clash

IT'S set to be the hottest ticket at the Euros since Ireland v England at Euro '88.

Thousands of extra Irish fans are flooding into Gdansk by plane, train and automobile for the most eagerly anticipated match in a generation when Ireland take on the world and European champions Spain.

An estimated 10,000 more supporters have flown in from Ireland this week, despite the defeat to Croatia on Sunday.

The feeling among Irish fans is that the Euros are all about taking on the world's best teams.

And the scramble for tickets has begun in earnest with just 24 hours to go before the big match.

Tickets have been changing hands for as much as €300 overnight with that price set to rise to €400 by kick-off.

Sean Flanagan from Clogherhead was also on the hunt for tickets yesterday but he had bigger problems.

"I was trying to be healthy and eat a salad but it didn't go well," he tells the Herald, explaining how he was rushed to hospital with a bout of gastroenteritis.

"I had to get two injections in the bum and tablets for five days. But it was all for €10 at this private hospital we found."

Sean, who is in Sopot with his sons Donal (18) and Cormac (14) is back to full health now.

Meanwhile, three-year-old Conor O'Mahoney spent the day at the beach yesterday after making the long journey from Poznan to Sopot.

Conor was "bouncing" around the stadium when Ireland scored against Croatia -- but now his parents may have to find a babysitter as they can't get him a ticket for the Spanish game.

Dad John, who lives in London, has been to every major tournament Ireland has played in and despite gaining a family since the 2002 World Cup in Japan he was determined to make the European Championships again.

But that meant the Kildare man and his wife Eileen had to bring Conor and his older brother Jackson (8) along in their campervan.


"He [Conor] really got into the match. We thought he might fade but he really got into it. He was bouncing around when we got the goal."

And now there is a search to get tickets for the two boys. "We have only two for the Spain game so we'll have to see," explained Eileen.

Asked for his view on recent days, Conor told the Herald: "Trapattoni's sad."

His father added: "It was very different back in Stuttgart because I went with six lads and an old Merc. Now I'm coming with a family.

"It's funny observing the lads here doing what we were doing 20 years ago."

Despite the heavy loss to Croatia there is a severe shortage of seats available for the match against Spain, and according to many at the campsites the only thing more precious is good quality toilet roll.

Ann O'Brien from Tipperary laughed that toilet roll is now like a currency.

"It's as good as tickets. You could swap Spanish tickets for toilet roll," she said.