Smaller green army soldier on to Paris
THE green army marching on Paris will be smaller than usual as almost half of all Irish ticket holders have applied for a refund.
After 'Le French Fiasco', where the Six Nations game between Ireland and France was cancelled at the last minute, 8,700 people have returned their tickets.
Under-fire officials from the French rugby federation offered to reimburse supporters for their tickets to the original fixture. Around 2,000 of the 4,500 tickets distributed through the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) in Ireland have been returned.
So that leaves 2,500 fans who are expected to make the pilgrimage to the French capital -- although some of these may choose to forfeit their ticket refund.
However, there appears to be significant demand for the Stade de France clash from French supporters.
Fans of Les Bleus have snapped up between 900 and 1,000 tickets each day this week and the federation is buoyant that the stadium will be filled for the Sunday afternoon match.
The FFR said that the "financial damage" to the organisation would be "minimal".
Same-day return air fares are currently available from Ryanair from €269, Aer Lingus from €577 and Air France have flights from Saturday to Sunday from €385.
The Ireland squad have returned to camp in Carton House with the win over Italy under their belts.
But the stats are against the boys in green who have only won in the Paris stadium once since 1972.
Their last victory came in 2000 aided by the emergence of rugby legend Brian O'Driscoll, who is absent during this year's championship after undergoing shoulder surgery.