Monday 5 December 2016

Gallery: 38 of the best images as Thomond Park says emotional farewell to Anthony 'Axel' Foley

Rob Barnett

Published 22/10/2016 | 14:03

22 October 2016; The Munster team during a minute's silence in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; The Munster team during a minute's silence in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

A minute's silence for Anthony Foley was impeccably observed at a sold-out Thomond Park on Saturday ahead of Munster's European Champions Cup match against Glasgow.

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Munster head coach Foley died in Paris last weekend, hours before the Irish province's scheduled Champions Cup opener against Racing 92, which was subsequently postponed.

Spectators in the West Stand at Thomond Park held up placards which spelt out Foley's nickname 'Axel' along with the number eight shirt, and all Munster's playing shirts had 'AXEL' sewn on their red shirts under the club crest.

The Munster Rugby Supporters' Club Choir performed 'There Is An Isle' on the pitch which was greeted with a standing ovation.

22 October 2016; The Munster team during a minute's silence in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; The Munster team during a minute's silence in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; The Munster team during a minute's silence in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; CJ Stander of Munster, who wore number 24 instead of the usual number 8 jersey retired on the day in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley, takes a moment before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster and Glasgow Warriors players observe a minutes silence in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Munster scrum coach Jerry Flannery, centre, flanked by players Peter McCabe, left, and man of the match Tyler Bleyendaal as they sing 'Stand Up And Fight' on the pitch after the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
CJ Stander, left, and Jaco Taute of Munster congratulate each other following their team's victory during the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Jaco Taute of Munster reacts at the final whistle following the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
CJ Stander of Munster wearing shirt number 24, after number 8 was retired for the match as a tribute to former Munster head coach Anthony Foley, makes his way off the field following the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster's Simon Zebo sheds a tear during a minute's silence in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Antho ny Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Former Munster and Ireland player Paul O'Connell, left centre, with his son Paddy ahead the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster's Simon Zebo, left, sheds a tear as he stands alongside captain Peter O'Mahony during a minute's silence in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Antho ny Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster players Conor Murray, left, Simon Zebo, centre, and captain Peter O'Mahony of Munster observe a minute's silence in memory of Munster head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, centre, ahead of the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster supporters wave their flags ahead of the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster supporters wave their flags ahead of the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus ahead of the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend ahead of the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster team manager Niall O'Donovan, left, and Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus in conversation before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A view of the match programme before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus ahead of the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A supporter adds a Munster Rugby jersey to the tribute, outside the Shannon RFC Club house, in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A supporter reads his the match programme before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Supporters queue to sign a 'Condolence book' in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Supporters queue to sign a 'Condolence book' in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A supporter photographs the Munster Rugby, Leinster Rugby and Connacht Rugby flags, scarves and flowers placed outside the Shannon RFC Club house in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A general view of Munster Rugby, Leinster Rugby and Connacht Rugby flags, scarves and flowers placed outside the Shannon RFC Club house in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; Munster supporters read messages on flags, scarves and flowers placed outside the Shannon RFC Club house in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, who died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A floral tribute from all the 'Glasgow Warriors Family' placed in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42.. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A detailed view of a Munster pennant ahead of the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A general view of flags, scarves and flowers placed outside the Shannon RFC Club house in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A general view of Munster Rugby, Clermont Rugby and Connacht Rugby flags, scarves and flowers placed outside the Shannon RFC Club house in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A tribute in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A detailed view of a portrait of former Munster head coach Anthony Foley ahead of the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A general view of Munster Rugby, Leinster Rugby and Connacht Rugby flags, scarves and flowers placed outside the Shannon RFC Club house in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A general view of Munster Rugby, Leinster Rugby and Connacht Rugby flags, scarves and flowers placed outside the Shannon RFC Club house in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
22 October 2016; A general view of Munster Rugby, Leinster Rugby and Connacht Rugby flags, scarves and flowers placed outside the Shannon RFC Club house in memory of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 2 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. The Shannon club man, with whom he won 5 All Ireland League titles, played 202 times for Munster and was capped for Ireland 62 times, died suddenly in Paris on November 16, 2016 at the age of 42. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Soprano Sinead O'Brien then joined the choir to perform 'Stand Up And Fight', which the Munster faithful, decked in their traditional red, stood and sang along to.

Young players from Foley's former club Shannon RFC and students representing his school St Munchin's formed a guard of honour as the teams ran out.

Proceedings came to a standstill for a poignant minute's silence just prior to the 1pm kick-off, with similar tributes planned at all other Champions Cup and Challenge Cup fixtures this weekend.

The 42-year-old's death was also marked by a commemorative match programme. A percentage of proceeds were pledged towards a fund or charitable cause to be agreed upon by the Foley family.

Foley's funeral, attended by hundreds of mourners, took place in County Clare on Friday.

Later on Friday Munster announced, as a mark of respect to Foley, they would retire the number eight jersey for the Glasgow game. CJ Stander, playing on Saturday in Foley's position, was wearing the number 24 jersey.

Foley made the number eight position his own during a long and successful Munster career highlighted by him captaining them to European Cup final glory in 2006.

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