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Ulster squad Portugal-bound ahead of final

Published: 09 May 2012

Passengers at Belfast International Airport got a pleasant surprise this week when they rubbed shoulders with the Ulster rugby squad....and wished them well for the Heineken Cup final.

The appearance of the squad in the Terminal brought delight to rugby fans queuing to check-in for early-morning flights.   

The squad, accompanied by Head Coach, Brian McLaughlin, were in good spirits as they waited to board an Aer Lingus flight to Faro in the Algarve. They were heading off for four days training before their clash with Irish rivals, Leinster, in the final in Twickenham on Saturday, 19th May. 8, 12

Thousands of Ulster fans are expected to travel to the European final on airlines operating from Belfast International.

Head Coach McLaughlin, in comments on the official Ulster Rugby website, said: "We've got the most important game of the year right at the end of a long, hard ten month season so we're taking the opportunity to get away for four intensive days of training where we can focus on preparing for the very tough proposition of facing Leinster in the Heineken Cup Final.

"The camp will give us the opportunity to prepare in an environment free from distractions but it also gives the players the chance to spend time together away from the training field.

"It's a way to pull the guys even closer ahead of a difficult match against a team aiming for their third European title in four years."

The squad returns from Portugal on Thursday, 10th.

Belfast International Operations Director, Alan Whiteside, said: “We were delighted to see the lads in such good form as they checked in at the Aer Lingus desk. Other passengers had to do a double-take as they weren’t altogether sure that it was indeed the Ulster squad. But when you have people like Andrew Trimble, Stephen Ferris and Rory Best, it doesn’t take too long for the penny to drop.

“We were delighted to see them in the airport and want to wish them every success for the final. Ulster goes into the final as underdogs and all of us know that this side is more than capable of pulling off the biggest surprise in European Cup rugby this season by lifting the trophy for the second time in the history of the competition”.

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