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07 Jul 2022

'Trips to this part of the world have been enjoyable' - Irish football fans face lengthy journey to Armenia

'Trips to this part of the world have been enjoyable' - Irish fans face lengthy journey to Armenia

Stephen Kenny's side, along with the most dedicated of Irish supporters, will travel over 4,000 kilometres to the Armenian capital to support their country this weekend. PIC: Sportsfile

The Republic of Ireland are gearing up to play their UEFA Nations League opener against Armenia on Saturday. The Boys in Green face four Nations League fixtures in the space of 10 days, which includes two away trips - Yerevan in Armenia and Lodz in Poland to play Ukraine.

Stephen Kenny's side, along with the most dedicated of Irish supporters, will travel over 4,000 kilometres to the Armenian capital to support their country this weekend. The Irish fans are regarded as some of the most passionate international football supporters worldwide and this Saturday will be no different when they descend on a scorching Armenia - with temperatures potentially hitting as high as 34°C.

There have been protests in Yerevan in recent weeks due to their government’s approach to their relationship with Azerbaijan, which appears unresolved since the six-week war in 2020. The Armenian police clashed with protesters in the city on Monday which prompted the FAI to send a security delegation to Armenia ahead of the Irish team travelling east on Wednesday.

The recent protests have caught the attention of Irish supporters travelling to the game but it won't put a stop to those who booked the lengthy trip.

The Hegarty family, who are part of the Wexford Republic of Ireland Soccer Supporters Club, are looking forward to the journey across Europe albeit having a bit of bother rebooking and rescheduling cancelled flights.

Irish fan Robbie Hegarty, who lives in Enniscorthy, explained that he had to rebook different flights a few times due to complications and cancelled flights with airline Wizz Air.

Now sorted, the Hegarty family will fly from Dublin to Poznan, Poland on Wednesday and spend a night in the Polish city. They will then travel to the Polish capital Warsaw on Thursday before they fly to Yerevan that night. After a three and half hour journey, they will arrive in Yerevan in the early hours of Friday morning.

"I am going for a 2-0 win for the Boys in Green on Saturday!" Robbie said ahead of his flight to Poznan.

Another Irish supporter, Ronan Coleman from Galway city, said: "I am travelling to Yerevan via Warsaw with four other supporters from Galway, Donegal and Limerick.

"At the moment, the leg of the journey I am most worried about is getting through security at Dublin Airport!

"This will be my fifth Ireland away match in the Caucasus region, previously I have visited Georgia three times and also Azerbaijan in October 2021.

"My trips to this part of the world have been enjoyable, and the people were very friendly to us. Armenia and Azerbaijan have effectively been at war for over thirty years. Anyone with an Azeri stamp on their passports, as many of us have, will expect an interrogation at Yerevan airport."

He added: "High temperatures are anticipated, and the media tell us there are anti-government demonstrations in Yerevan. The priority will be to get in and out safely, hopefully with three points. I expect a small travelling support, maybe 200-300.

"Onwards and upwards to Lodz then!"

Ireland's full June schedule is below:

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