Despite clocking up thousands of miles in search of the Holy Grail of European rugby, Munster fans are eager to write another chapter in one of the greatest odysseys in Irish rugby.
Tickets for the eagerly awaited semi-final against the French giants were snapped up yesterday. Munster fans have been allocated 12,000 tickets, with an option of 2,000 more.
Colm Moore, 14, and his younger brother, Mark, were taking no chances and were the first fans to buy tickets at Thomond Park, Limerick. Over 1,000 tickets were quickly snapped up.
In Cork, 200 people were served in 40 minutes at Musgrave Park.
“It’s gone very well and we’re confident that everybody who wants tickets will get them,” Munster branch administrator John Coleman said.
Munster lock Donncha O’Callaghan said the supporters were like an extra man to the team. “They really are great. Some people might think when you’re out, you’re gone but the Munster supporters get behind you,” he said at Musgrave Park.
The 18 tickets for seats near the centre of Toulouse’s oval-shaped stadium, have sold strongly so far.
The 12 tickets will place Munster fans behind the goal, meaning that the Red Army will occupy half of the stadium in a horseshoe pattern, according to the Munster Branch.
The municipal stadium in Toulouse has a 36,000 capacity though it is not Toulouse’s home ground. The rugby team and the local soccer team play there regularly.
Dawson Travel in Cork has already sold out two 233-seater aircraft to Toulouse and a third 460-seater aeroplane is already half full.
“The demand is huge and it’s actually hard to get aircraft, especially from Cork. Our third plane is flying to Cork Airport from Reykjavik in Iceland,” manager Jack Sheill said.
Packages range from €399 for a one-day trip to €499 and upwards for an overnight stay. Irish Ferries is also offering a €58 return per person based on a car and four adults travelling.
Meanwhile, almost 24,000 tickets have been sold for Leinster’s Heineken Cup semi-final against Perpignan at Lansdowne Road. Some terrace tickets are still available in the shops, at Ticketmaster outlets and through the rugby clubs.