Red carpet rolled out for Merkel flag crew’s homecoming

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

EVEN Spain’s returning heroes would find it hard to match the homecoming that Richie Tuohy, Eoin O’Brien and Conor O’Dwyer got in their local pubs.

EVEN Spain’s returning heroes would find it hard to match the homecoming that Richie Tuohy, Eoin O’Brien and Conor O’Dwyer got in their local pubs.

The Dromkeen, Cappamore and Pallasgreen men are famous for their roles in the “Angela Merkel thinks we’re at work” flag.

With the boys in green flagging on the pitch, the flag became the Irish story of the Euros. It made headlines across the world and they have raised over €20,000 and counting for charity.

They toured Poland and the tour of East Limerick commenced on Friday night in Uncle Tom’s in Pallasgreen.

It is Richie Tuohy’s local so and he and his dad, Tony, dropped in with the flag for a pint.

“There was a big crowd and good old craic. People were shaking my hands and congratulating us all. You’d nearly be embarrassed at the reception they were so nice,” said Richie. The photos above are just two of hundreds that were taken over the weekend with the flag by smiling locals.

“We hadn’t officially organised fundraising but people still gave us fivers and tenners when we were taking photos. It was unbelievable,” said Richie. The next stop on Friday night was O’Neill’s in Boher where the craic continued and glasses were raised. On Saturday morning they called to businesses in Dromkeen and their old national school - Tineteriffe.

On Saturday afternoon they headed to Cappamore where Eoin O’Brien is from. They dropped in to O’Dwyer’s and Hayes where there were a group on a break from a charity cycle from Askeaton to Dundrum. More pictures were taken with the infamous flag which are sure to end up on pub walls. The mini-tour of North East Limerick ended in O’Dwyer’s in Pallasgreen on Saturday night.

As the proprietors, Cora and Dermot, are Conor’s uncle and aunt they got a special welcome.

“When we walked in there were balloons and welcome home signs. I said to Cora ‘who is coming home?’ ‘what party is on tonight?’. She said ‘They’re for ye’ and we were shocked,” laughed Richie.

Their fundraising efforts continued as they posed with Pallasgreen Residents Association members who are holding a coffee morning this Sunday, July 8 after 11.30am Mass in Nicker hall for the upkeep of the villages. Their phones are still ringing with offers and invites so the lads don’t know what will happen next.

Perhaps the perfect ending would be if Iris – the Barcelona-based company who bought the flag – could arrange for the triumphant Spanish team to sign it.