Sunday 26 January 2020

Glory days to return as Axel's Munster army hits road

Anthony Foley is ready for his first season in charge of Munster. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
Anthony Foley is ready for his first season in charge of Munster. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

John Fallon

A new era is unfolding for Munster rugby and having led the Reds to so many glory days on the pitch, Anthony Foley will now bid to repeat it as a coach.

Supported by a predominantly indigenous backroom team and with a couple of years of progress behind them, there is real optimism that Munster is poised to soon return to victor's rostrum.

Foley becomes the first Munster native to take charge of the province since Declan Kidney left to become Ireland coach in 2008 and he has made it clear that trophies need to be won.

Foley has placed his faith in several players he has soldiered with in assembling his management team and he knows that Brian Walsh, Ian Costello, Jerry Flannery and Mick O'Driscoll have a huge contribution to make.

"They all want to contribute, they all want to give their best. I'm thinking about it 24/7, and I know Brian, Jerry, Micko and Cozzie, they're all thinking about it 24/7 as well. There is a massive challenge there as indigenous coaches to be on the front line in professional rugby.

OPPORTUNITY

"We're looking forward to it, we've gone through all the levels in the IRFU, we've all coached at various different levels and we're just delighted to be given the opportunity and getting the opportunity to show what we're made of," said Foley.

His squad will wrap up their pre-season preparations at the Regional Sports Centre in Waterford this evening and Axel Foley is delighted that his first home game in charge is being played there.

"I've brought two Munster 'A' sides down to Waterford and we've had excellent support down there. It's a lovely pitch, it's a great facility, it's great to be able to bring the game around to different parts of the province.

"People talk about Limerick and Cork all the time; well there are six counties in this. We have a team now that is populated from across the counties in the province.

"We have lads from Kerry, a couple of emerging lads coming through from Waterford, a couple of Clare lads and Limerick. Cork and Tipperary are the main providers so it's good that we spread the game around so people can see it.

"We are all looking forward to it and it will be a good contest against London Irish," said Foley.

Irish Independent

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