Irish 'Angela Merkel thinks we're at work' fan marries German bride

Richie and Orlagh on their wedding day with the flag Image copyright Ronan Palliser

"Angela Merkel thinks we're at work."

It was the Irish flag with a difference that hit the headlines around the world during Euro 2012.

Seven years after it was debuted by Republic of Ireland fans, one of its creators, Richie Tuohy, has tied the knot with German woman Orlagh Eichhol.

And the German chancellor even put in an appearance on their wedding day by way of a signed photograph and message to the happy couple during the father of the bride's speech.

In the letter Mrs Merkel said: "Marriage, like life itself, is not a comfortable and peaceful state.

"But a great adventure with many surprises and trials to pass."

Speaking to BBC News NI, Mr Tuohy, 31, said: "I had this experience in 2012 with my friends and it's great to have it now with my beautiful wife."

The pair met in Dublin in 2012, a few months after the football tournament.

Image copyright Ronan Palliser

The flag was auctioned for charity in 2012, but Mr Tuohy was able to borrow if for the day when his father, Tony, insisted the couple brought it to their wedding reception, for a photograph.

The signed photograph and letter of advice to the newlyweds was engineered by his father-in-law, Jorg, who is from Germany.

Orlagh, who is a teacher, was born in Germany but moved to Doon, in County Limerick, when she was five.

Mr Eichhol read out Mrs Merkel's words of wisdom during his father-of-the-bride speech.

He had contacted Mrs Merkel six months before the wedding in Cappawhite, County Tipperary, and invited her to the couple's big day, but she couldn't make it.

During Euro 2012, which took place in Poland and Ukraine, a little boy from Mallusk, in County Antrim, held up his own version of the flag, which said: "My ma thinks I'll be in bed early."

Oscar Knox was in hospital at the time, battling neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer.

An avid football fan, he had been allowed to stay up late to watch a Republic of Ireland match.

Mr Tuohy and his friends behind the original flag - Gerry Nolan, Richie Leahy, Eoin Cantwell and Eoin O'Brien - were so touched by the picture of Oscar that they visited him, and donated their flag to be auctioned off for charity.

"We watched some YouTube videos this morning of news reports in 2012 and Oscar was in the middle of it," Mr Tuohy told BBC News NI.

"He was such a great and funny boy. We got on great when we visited him and were so sad when he passed away.

"We are always proud that we did a bit for charity when we were in the news and we will always remember Oscar fondly.

"We split the money raised with Crumlin Children's Hospital too, and, in another coincidence, Orlagh also worked there for a year, teaching in the school for long term patients. They sent her messages today after seeing us in the papers.

"It's great to have lovely messages like that coming in."

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