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Tough draw for Irish sides

The long-awaited draw for the finals of the European Championship has left both Northern Ireland and the Republic facing exceptionally tough tasks if they are to qualify for the knock-out stages.

Northern Ireland must take on the world champions, Germany, as well as Poland and Ukraine, while the Republic find themselves in an arguably even more daunting group which includes Italy, Belgium and Sweden.

However, even allowing for the security precautions which will inevitably be in place, France remains an accessible destination with an excellent transport infrastructure.

Tens of thousands of Irish fans from both sides of the border will travel to the games in June and the atmosphere they generate along the way could make a vital difference.

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