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London fans count the cost of heading to the Connacht final

Supporters celebrate London reaching the Connacht Final
Supporters celebrate London reaching the Connacht Final

BORIS might not be in Mayo to cheer on the Exiles this coming Sunday, but GAA fans from across London are preparing to make the journey to watch their team make history.

But supporters can expect to pay upwards of £400 for the return trip — and that’s before they’ve even bought a match ticket.

As the London team broke records by reaching this stage of the competition, their fans broke a record of their own, registering such unprecedented demand for flights that Ryanair has had to announce extra routes for the weekend of the match.

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The carrier will operate seven flights between London and Knock on the weekend of the Connacht final, July 20 and 21, including two new flights.

Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said: “We’ve never had so many GAA fans ringing our reservation centre looking for extra seats.”

The schedule includes three flights out of Stansted and Luton airports on Saturday morning, as well as a further route from Stansted early on Sunday.

Return flights then leave Knock on Sunday afternoon and throughout Monday.

All in, the journey itself currently costs between £125 and £300.

Those who want to stay the Sunday night, hoping to celebrate another historic win, will be faced with paying between £30 and £70 per person for a room at a hotel or B&B near Castlebar.

Tickets to get into McHale Park on Sunday will be priced at £25, but some London supporters might also want to wear their county’s colours with pride by getting themselves a London GAA jersey — available online for £42.

Despite best efforts from the team and a personal invitation from Irish Minister of State Michael Ring to encourage London Mayor Boris Johnson to make the trip to Ireland, fans will travel without any city representatives.

But among the MPs contacted by The Irish Post, two — Sadiq Khan and David Lammy — said they have been so inspired by London’s victories that they will now be making the journey down to Ruislip to watch them in action.

“I’m really proud that a team representing the whole city has done so well and made history by reaching the Connacht Final,” said Mr Khan, MP for Tooting and Shadow Minister for London.

“The Irish community make a huge contribution to all aspects of life in London, not least in my own constituency of Tooting.

“London’s Gaelic footballers are a fine example of that, and we will all be cheering them on to hopefully bring the JJ Nestor Cup back across the Irish Sea.”

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Niall O Sullivan
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Niall O’Sullivan is a reporter at The Irish Post. You can follow him on @Niall_IrishPost on Twitter

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