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Thursday 17 August 2017

Munster mourns

Anthony Foley, 1973-2016: ‘He wore his heart like a crest on his Munster shirt...’ Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
Anthony Foley, 1973-2016: ‘He wore his heart like a crest on his Munster shirt...’ Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

David Kelly and Alan O'Keefe

A Munster Rugby flag fluttered at half-mast in Killaloe, Co Clare, yesterday in honour of local hero Anthony Foley.

The rugby community is in mourning following the sudden death of the Munster coach.

Mr Foley (42), from Killaloe, Co Clare, died from a suspected heart attack in his sleep in a hotel in Paris. Munster were in the French capital to play their opening Champions Cup match against Racing 92.

Mr Foley is survived by his wife Olive and sons Tony (12) and Daniel (8).

The IRFU issued a statement just before 2pm yesterday about the death overnight of Mr Foley.

In a stellar club and international career, he famously captained Munster to the province’s first European Cup win in 2006.

Munster fans who had travelled to Paris for the match gathered outside the Stade Yves du Manoir to pay tribute to their leader and broke into a poignant rendition of ‘The Fields of Athenry’.

“An absolute legend. Thank you for the 202 times you stood up and fought for Munster,” wrote one fan.

At home in Ballina-Killaloe, community members said they would stand shoulder to shoulder with his family at this hard time.

Back in Limerick at the home of Munster rugby, fans are building a shrine to Anthony ‘Axel’ Foley at Thomond Park made of flowers and jerseys. Standing in the cold and rain, they made the trek to pay a final homage to a Munster legend.

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