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Champions League final: Plane tickets, train tickets... just no game tickets as Northern Ireland Liverpool fans head out to Kiev

By Adrian Rutherford

It is an epic trek across Europe but nothing is going to stop a group of Liverpool fans from Northern Ireland making it to Kiev for the Champions League final.

Brothers Joe, Jude and Sean McMahon are travelling by plane, train, coach - and at one point will cross an international border on foot - to make it to Saturday night's game.

Not even a lack of tickets has deterred the intrepid trio from travelling to the Ukrainian capital, where Jurgen Klopp's side take on Spanish giants and holders Real Madrid.

Their journey, beginning today, sees them fly from Belfast to the Polish city of Krakow - nearly 600 miles from Kiev.

They will then travel to the Ukrainian border by bus or train, walk across it, and get another train to Lviv in the west of the country.

Finally, they will get a coach for the final leg of the journey to Kiev.

Joe, who is from Downpatrick, said: "We don't have tickets. We are still trying, but it's not the end of the world if we don't get sorted.

"I was in Athens for the 2007 final (which Liverpool lost to AC Milan) and the atmosphere was sensational - it was just brilliant.

"Kiev is a difficult part of the world to get to, but I wouldn't miss this."

Thousands of Liverpool fans will be in Kiev to see the Reds attempt to lift a sixth European Cup.

Supporters of the Anfield club have been allocated 16,626 tickets for the final, but many more are making the journey to savour the atmosphere.

The complexities of the trip - and the cost - are considerable, with accommodation also at a premium.

Joe admitted he had no idea whether they will secure tickets on the day, or even how they will return.

He added: "I haven't a clue how we'll get back.

"There are no flights on Sunday or Monday.

"We're probably looking at going back to Krakow and taking it from there.

"Our original plan was to hire a minibus, but you need clearance to drive in Ukraine, and hiring a car brought problems too.

"It's anything but easy, but we couldn't miss it."

Another group of fans from Northern Ireland are travelling via London, Germany and Belarus.

James Forsythe from Ards is travelling with friends Alan Rooney from Banbridge and David McCullough from Rathfriland.

They leave Dublin tomorrow on a flight to Cologne, where they are staying overnight before jetting into Kiev the next day for the game.

They return at 6am on Sunday, stopping off in Minsk and Gatwick, before arriving in Belfast.

James said planning their journey had been "a nightmare".

"It's going to be a whirlwind 24 hours in Kiev with a lot of travel to get there and back, but there's no other way to do it," he said.

"It's a disaster of a place in terms of getting there and accommodation.

"For hotel costs you are talking telephone numbers.

"We're going home the morning after the game so we've just a few hours after it finishes before travelling back."

On the match itself, James is predicting goals - and a Liverpool win.

"I don't think it will be 0-0. I think there will be plenty of goals," he said.

"I'm going for 3-2 to Liverpool," he added.

Earlier this week it emerged that more than 2,000 Real Madrid fans had been forced to return their tickets due to the logistical complications and costs involved in travelling to Kiev.

Fans of both clubs have been left angry at the decision to hold the final in a city which is hard to access and has a shortage of hotels.

James McKenna from Liverpool fan group Spirit of Shankly said: "If there are any empty seats at the final in Kiev it should be a wake-up call for Uefa.

"It should be a wake-up call for them anyway.

"This has been a debacle and it is down to the choices made by Uefa about the location of the final and the ticket prices."

Belfast Telegraph

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