WATCH: 'We played for Olive and the kids' - Peter O'Mahony hopes Munster display did Axel proud
Published 22/10/2016 | 16:07
Fourteen-man Munster honoured their late captain and head coach Anthony Foley with a barnstorming 38-17 bonus-point Champions Cup win over Glasgow at Thomond Park.
Despite Keith Earls' red card for a tip tackle midway through a frenzied first half, Munster were 24-3 clear by the interval after tries from European debutants Tyler Bleyendaal and Jaco Taute along with a fortuitous effort from Simon Zebo.
Munster's dominance up front yielded a penalty try, early in the second period, and although Pat MacArthur and Mark Bennett both touched down in the final quarter, a closing seven-pointer from Rory Scannell was a fitting end to a highly emotional day in Limerick.
A sell-out 26,500 crowd watched Munster open their European campaign in tearful circumstances, just a day after Foley was laid to rest in his home town of Killaloe, County Clare.
The 42-year-old's sudden death at the team hotel in Paris last Sunday forced the postponement of Munster's round-one clash with Racing 92, and the subsequent days saw the rugby community, at home and abroad, unite in support of the Irish province and most importantly, Foley's wife Olive and their children Tony and Dan.
The outpouring of grief continued at Thomond, where special tributes were paid before the lunchtime kick-off, including renditions of 'There is an Isle' and 'Stand Up and Fight' - the rousing songs of Foley's beloved Shannon RFC and Munster - an impeccably observed minute's silence and the West Stand supporters holding up cards to poignantly display his nickname 'Axel' and shirt number, '8'.
After the game, skipper Peter O'Mahony spoke about how the players were determined to make Foley proud and play for his grieving family.
"We showed up and they showed up for a massive occasion," O'Mahony told Sky Sports.
"We came out here to play like Axel would have wanted us to play and we played for Olive and the kids and all their family.
"And God I we hope we did him proud today."
Peter O'Mahony hopes that Munster made Anthony Foley proud today. There is no doubt that they certainly did that. pic.twitter.com/qz64RfWLLy— Darragh Murphy (@DarrMurphy) October 22, 2016