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Euro 2012 fans cash in with late discount deals

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Andy Davies puts the finishing touches to a mural on the window of
McDaids pub on Harry Street in Dublin city centre yesterday. Photo: MARK STEDMAN

Andy Davies puts the finishing touches to a mural on the window of McDaids pub on Harry Street in Dublin city centre yesterday. Photo: MARK STEDMAN

Andy Davies puts the finishing touches to a mural on the window of McDaids pub on Harry Street in Dublin city centre yesterday. Photo: MARK STEDMAN

CONFIDENT fans who have waited for cheaper last-minute Euro 2012 deals are in luck.

Cheaper accommodation is becoming available as Ireland's opening game against Croatia draws nearer.

But tickets are still thin on the ground, with travel agents advising ticketless supporters that their best bet is to look for them in Poland.

Robbie Sinnott, from Club Travel Sport in Dublin, said they had reduced their package prices, which do not include tickets, because they had come across cheaper accommodation in the past few weeks.

"The accommodation that came back recently allowed us to drop the prices of the packages we're offering to €800, although they do not include tickets," Mr Sinnott said last night.

The packages on offer take in the second and third of Ireland's three games, leaving out the opening match against Croatia on Sunday week.

They provide flights, transfers and accommodation for two nights in Gdansk for Ireland v Spain, and four nights in Poznan for Ireland v Italy.

However, match tickets are proving to be the problem and a number of travel agents, who did not wish to go on the record, claimed there would be tickets available on the ground.

FAI chief executive John Delaney has said he expects as many as 20,000 fans could travel over to the games in Poznan and Gdansk, exceeding the FAI's initial allocation of 6,000.

But Abbey Travel, the FAI's official travel agent, poured cold water on the idea that match tickets will become available in Poland as the games approach.

"They would say that wouldn't they? If I was trying to sell ticketless packages, I'd be saying the same," Neil Horgan, from Abbey Travel, said. "Anyone who's going to be over there looking for a ticket for Ireland v Spain -- well, good luck on that one.

"Croatia will be difficult for tickets too, but I'd say tickets will come around for the Italy match.

Abbey's initial offering cost €2,399 for all three group games, and the all-in price included travel, accommodation and tickets. They are now selling the reduced packages at €1,499 for two games with tickets.

A spokesman for the FAI last night said they were not expecting any travel agents to return tickets, but added: "We will continue to work with UEFA to try to make more tickets available for Irish fans."

Irish Independent