Belfast Telegraph

Ulster rugby fans get cup fever

All roads are leading to London this weekend as thousands of Ulster rugby fans set course for the Heineken Cup Final at Twickenham.

Innovative supporters are utilising all manner of transportation to get to Saturday's European showpiece against provincial rivals Leinster.

The Ulster team was given a heroes' send-off from Belfast International Airport on Friday morning as cheering fans applauded them through the departures terminal.

But while the players had no problem getting a plane ticket, an estimated 10,000 supporters have had to scramble for any seats available.

"Services to Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick, London Luton and Southend were filled to capacity," said airport spokesman Uel Hoey.

"Supporters unable to fly direct to a London airport opted for Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool and even Paris, where they then got the Eurostar to London.

"So tremendous is the level of support for Ulster that people have shown great ingenuity in their determination to be at Twickenham for the showdown against Leinster."

There were similar scenes at George Best Belfast City Airport and Northern Ireland's ports.

Stormont's First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will be joining the travelling hordes all hoping that Ulster can replicate their Heineken Cup triumph of 1999.

"I'm looking forward to joining with the exodus of Ulster folk travelling to London for the final," said Mr Robinson. "We might be going into the match as underdogs but Leinster may not have counted on the support coming for Ulster from the stands."


From Belfast Telegraph