Tuesday 6 December 2016

Rugby's reluctant hero hears that final bell...

Published 22/10/2016 | 02:30

Anthony Foley. Photo: Sportsfile
Anthony Foley. Photo: Sportsfile

When the rain and hail cut like new blades, when eight French forwards with fire in their eyes are intent on ripping your arms off, and beating you about the head with them, it takes something a bit special to hold the line.

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The crossing from amateur rugby to professionalism was painful. It was littered with broken bodies and broken dreams, it certainly was not for the faint-hearted - but Anthony Foley made light work of hard yards.

You couldn't put your body in such harm's way for monetary reward, or a fleeting taste of glory. That kind of passion, that kind of fury could only be forged in the furnace of love: Love of family, love of parish, love of province. Anthony Foley took the field with a strength unbounded by logic or reason. Like all the great players he enriched and ennobled the game, not with flashes of speed, or silken skills, but through his raw brutal conviction that only ballerinas should bow with grace.

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