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Heineken Cup: Tickets for final not an issue but cost of flights soaring

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Jonny Sexton
celebrates with
Leinster coach Joe
Schmidt

Jonny Sexton celebrates with Leinster coach Joe Schmidt

Jonny Sexton celebrates with Leinster coach Joe Schmidt

IT'S an all-Ireland affair and the scramble for Heineken Cup final tickets began in earnest last night.

Yesterday, as Leinster's victory over Clermont propelled them to a final encounter with Ulster on May 19th, all eyes were set on the trip to Twickenham.

And the good news is that anybody who wants to be at the final should be able to get there. Although last night's rising flight prices look set to bump up the cost, tickets are likely to change hands at face value -- as is the tradition amongst rugby fans -- and hotel prices will remain largely stable.

"I don't see any problem with Heineken Cup fans getting tickets because home branches like Leinster and Ulster get such large allocations," explained Francis Roche of Marathon Travel.

"The size of the stadium makes a difference; there is 90,000 (capacity) in Twickenham."

Season ticket holders at Ulster and Leinster have an automatic right to attend the final.

Last night, Ticketmaster was quoting price ranges of between £37.80 (€46) and £81 (€99). The affiliated website Getmein.com was selling tickets ranging from £121 (€149) to £220 (€270).

However, according to Mr Roche, regular prices through the provinces and clubs stand at between £25 (€30) and £70 (€86) and many are still available.

The real issue of expense will be flights. Aer Lingus flies in and out of Heathrow which is the closest airport to Twickenham.

Yesterday evening a flight leaving Dublin at 1.40pm on Saturday and returning home at 6.40am the following morning was priced at €179. About an hour later, seats on the same flight were going for €194.

A flight from Dublin at 9.50am and returning at 8.50am on Sunday cost €533 compared to €239 the following weekend.

Ryanair flights into Gatwick were online for about €305, compared to an early morning Aer Lingus flight for €174.

However, fans can also opt for the ferry and coach transfers -- Marathon Travel is offering that option with hotel accommodation, but no match ticket, for €269.

Irish Independent