A couple who found love thanks to the European football championships in 2012 are celebrating their anniversary at the same tournament four years on.
Richie O’Farrell, from Dun Laoghaire in Dublin, and Lucile Berset, from Fribourg in Switzerland, met in Berlin when the Irish fan stopped off in the German city on his way home from Euro 2012 in Poland.
Mr O’Farrell, 28, was smitten from the moment he laid eyes on Ms Berset and the pair are celebrating four years together in Lille where Ireland play Italy in Euro 2016 on Wednesday night.
Looking back on when their love story began he said: “Me and the lads went over and I booked to stay for at least the quarter final.
“We went to Berlin. I met her in the hostel and she was going to bed and I wasn’t too pleased so I offered her a drink to buy me some more time.
“Fortunately she was more than happy to have the drink and we got on great.”
Ms Berset, 22, had been to Ireland on holiday before, and Mr O’Farrell said: “She knew about Michael Collins and the Rising. As a result of the holiday she’d done a school project on Ireland, which I thought was insane — just that she’d had such an interest in it.”
After they met, the pair kept in touch on Facebook and Skype — but Ms Berset found her adoring Irishman a hard to understand at first. “I wasn’t really used to the Irish accent then,” she said.
She travelled over to Ireland less than a year later, which meant Mr O’Farrell “explaining to an Irish mother that a Swiss girl was coming to stay on the couch”.
The reunion was a success and Mr O’Farrell said: “We knew we could keep it going.”
A trip out to Switzerland a few months later sealed the deal, and he said: “We knew then it wasn’t a holiday thing so we made it official then that we were going to be together.”
The pair spent a year in Ireland when Ms Berset found work as an au pair, and they discovered they had a love of football in common.
“With a girl that’s into it, it’s something to cling on to,” Mr O’Farrell joked.
Luckily for the couple, who now live in Fribourg, their countries were both scheduled to play in Lille just a few days apart during Euro 2016.
Joking about their relationship, Ms Berset said: “There’s a lot of football involved.”
While June 21 is the exact date they met, Ms Berset is happy to wait for Ireland’s big — and potentially last — game of Euro 2016 to celebrate.
“We’ll postpone the day to today and hope for an Irish win,” she said. Mr O’Farrell added: “That would top the lot.”
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