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Taxi, bus, flight and train: The Irish Liverpool fans willing to go the extra miles for Champions League final

A travel company has also chartered a flight for the occasion from Dublin to Madrid.

THEY HAVE NO opponents yet (with the other semi-final between Ajax and Tottenham to be played out tonight), but many Liverpool FC fans across the world have set their sights firmly on getting to Madrid on 1 June for the Champions League.

The club’s second-leg comeback against Barcelona last night means that fans are unexpectedly navigating transport and ticket options today. 

Liverpool v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League - Semi Final - Second Leg - Anfield Liverpool's Mohamed Salah Source: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Just before midday today, more than 300 people were simultaneously on the Aer Lingus website looking for flights between the two cities. However, there are currently no Ryanair or Aer Lingus flights available from Dublin to Madrid on either the day of the match or the day before. And an overview of flights on Skyscanner shows that the cheapest way to get to Madrid by plane from Dublin is over €350.

However, these flights are not direct and it could take the traveller anywhere between 19 to 26 hours to arrive in the city. The most direct flight possible, which takes just under three hours, will set a fan back over €1,200.

So while many people might have believed getting a ticket to be the main barrier to attending the Wanda Metropolitano on the first Saturday of next month — only 17,000 out of a possible 63,500 tickets will be released to Liverpool fans — it may be travel issues that scupper their plans first. 

Despite the first-leg result leaving Liverpool facing a three-goal deficit, some Irish fans had plans in motion. Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Robbie Brennan said he’s had to organise his trip to Madrid “in a fairly roundabout way”.

With a wedding in Ballyliffin in North Donegal on Friday 31 May, he’ll start his journey in a taxi at 2am from Donegal to Derry and then a bus to Belfast International Airport. A flight from Belfast to Valencia will then be followed by a 90-minute train journey to Madrid.

“I booked the initial flight on the morning of the first leg so you can imagine that I thought the odds were that I wasn’t getting on it,” he said.

Brennan has also yet to secure a ticket to the game but said that “between myself and my brother, we hope we might be able to turn something up”.

Liverpool v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League - Semi Final - Second Leg - Anfield Liverpool fans outside Anfield last night Source: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Director of the LFC Daytrippers podcast Phil Casey said that while most of their team had booked flights before the semi-final, as they were “gambling on making the final”, they had considered a number of other routes to Madrid and pointed to the ferry as a possible option.

An overnight ferry from Cork to Santander on 29 May is priced at €289 oneway for a car of four people, with cabins costing €155. From there, it is a four-and-a-half hour drive to Madrid. The Rosslare to Cherbourg ferry is another option but it includes a 13-hour drive between the port and Madrid.

Irish travel companies have also noted the keen interest in securing travel to Madrid for the final. Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Abbey Travel said it has organised a day return charter flight for fans which will go out early on the morning of 1 June and return later that night. However, fans travelling will have to find their own tickets as the company said it has “no tickets nor do we envisage getting any”.

While flights to Madrid (on airlines other than Ryanair and Aer Lingus) can cost anywhere from €300 to €1,000, it is cheaper to fly to other major European cities which are within driving range of Madrid. A Ryanair flight to Porto, which is a five-and-a-half hour drive from Madrid, on 30 May will cost just over €140.

The 17,000 tickets allocated to Liverpool fans have yet to be released but some others are already floating around as 4,000 tickets went on general sale in mid-March.

Some of the 25,500 tickets allocated to Uefa and its commercial partners, broadcasters and national associations are also reportedly being resold. The cheapest tickets on resale sites such as Stubhub and Viagogo are going for around €4,000 which some sellers asking for over €10,000.

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Kathleen McNamee

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