Sunday 18 March 2018

Munster's show must go on: Grief-stricken O'Mahony admits Glasgow game is 'trivial'

Anthony Foley died on Sunday morning Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
Anthony Foley died on Sunday morning Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Peter O'Mahony has admitted that Saturday's Champions Cup clash with Glasgow Warriors is a "trivial" affair in the greater scheme of things as the Munster squad try to come to terms with the untimely death of their head coach Anthony Foley.

At an emotional press conference at the province's High Performance Centre at the University of Limerick yesterday, the Ireland star spoke proudly of following in his hero's footsteps in becoming the Munster captain.

Foley passed away as a result of acute pulmonary oedema caused by heart disease at a Paris hotel on Sunday morning before the province were scheduled to play their opening European game against Racing 92.

The 42-year-old's funeral takes place in Killaloe at midday tomorrow, just 25 hours before the Thomond Park fixture is set to take place and director of rugby Rassie Erasmus expressed his belief that the decision to go ahead with the match is the right one.

The squad trained at UL yesterday as they tried to put a semblance of normality on a harrowing week and they will attend the funeral together before the team is announced at the later time of 3pm.

"Look, at the end of the day it's all pretty trivial. When you're thrown into a scenario like this it puts a lot of things into perspective for everyone," O'Mahony said. "We just try and make it as normal as possible, as much as you can. The main thing is that we're there for Olive and the kids and that's been our focus.

"That's all we're thinking about outside of the 60-70 minutes of training that we did today and yesterday. We've just got to be there for them now. It's not about us. It's not about anything else. It's about minding them now.

"I was lucky, I grew up following him around the place even though he didn't know it.

"He'd just finished up playing when I came into the academy but for him to be around and to be allowed to talk to him and be in his presence, it was a dream come true at the time and it stayed that way up until last weekend."

Erasmus said his players would try and put in a fitting performance. Munster had sold 17,000 tickets for the game yesterday, but now that the uncertainty over the fixture taking place has passed, it is expected that the match will sell-out as fans flock to pay tribute to the man who lifted the Heineken Cup in 2006.

"I know the players had so much respect for him that they are trying to get on with it and trying to do the job the way we think and the way they know Anthony would want us to go on with it," the South African said.

"That's what drives us, it's what makes us committed to putting in a proper performance out there."

Meanwhile, scrum-half Tomás O'Leary has joined Montpellier on a short-term deal.

Irish Independent

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