Munster crowd gives emotional tributes to Anthony Foley

Munster supporters showed their support in memory of the late Anthony Foley before their match against Glasgow. Photo / Getty
Munster supporters showed their support in memory of the late Anthony Foley before their match against Glasgow. Photo / Getty

Anthony Foley's two sons, Tony and Dan, were comforted by the Munster players in an emotionally charged afternoon at Thomond Park.

Foley's boys were enveloped not only by supportive players but also the outpouring of tributes by the crowd on an occasion where the Champions Cup match against Glasgow was almost an afterthought.

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.

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.

In the game itself Fourteen-man Munster honoured their late captain and head coach with a barnstorming 38-17 bonus-point Champions Cup win over Glasgow.

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.

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.

- Daily Mail

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 25 May 2017 01:59:56 Processing Time: 335ms