Republic game among the most in-demand at Euro 2016
THEY may have been late to the Euro 2016 party, but Republic of Ireland fans are determined to cheer on their team in France this summer.
The Republic's first game against Sweden on June 13 has been revealed as the second most in-demand for tickets of the tournament's entire first round of 36 games.
Supporters of Martin O'Neill's men also made the fourth largest number of applications for tickets overall, despite being one of the smallest nations.
Uefa yesterday closed its first `ticket portal' for fans of the 24 competing associations to apply to take up their team's allocations.
The governing body said demand was huge, with 3.5 million tickets requested before midday yesterday for the month-long expanded tournament that will be played in 10 cities across France from June 10.
The three games in highest demand were: Germany-Poland (Saint-Denis, June 16), Republic of Ireland-Sweden (Saint-Denis, June 13) and Portugal-Austria (Paris, June 18).
Uefa said the Republic is among five teams whose fans submitted the most applications through their dedicated ticket portal.
They join the much larger Poland, France and Austria, as well as the host's neighbour, Switzerland.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland fans have a 50/50 chance of getting tickets after between 40-50,000 applications were made for the IFA's total allocation of 25,000 seats.
There are 6,000 tickets available for their game against Poland in Nice on June 12, 11,000 for the match against Ukraine in Lyon four days later, and 8,000 for the final Group C game against world champions Germany in Paris on June 21.
A second, `general public' portal, which opened as the window for national teams closed, now allows football fans to apply for non-allocated tickets for individual matches.
These tickets are designed for "fans not wanting to follow a specific team" and can be sought until February 1.
It is only open to those who have not already applied for tickets in Categories One and Two and accessibility seats.