Scrummaging giant Anthony ‘Axel’ Foley yesterday inspired a history-making rugby effort — entering his name in the Guinness Book of Records.
Students from Limerick Institute of Technology, which he attended, formed a ‘Scrum for Axel’ with a pack of 1,740 players — toppling the old super-scrum record of 1,600.
The students and college staff, along with local primary schools, rugby clubs, and pensioner groups — and with a lot of push — added their muscle to build on the memory of the late Shannon, Munster, and Ireland rugby legend.
Anthony’s sister Rosie, a former Ireland rugby international, was on hand to help set the scrum.
The formation was in keeping with the standard scrum: Three front rows, two second rows, and three back-rows locking down in repeat scrums side by side, the length of the institute’s GAA pitches.
Adjudicators from EY were present to ratify the event for entry to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Rosie Foley said: “So many of these students would even have been too young to see Anthony play. Yet they have created this piece of history in his honour.
“We’ve been so humbled by the tributes, the incredible support, and the all-round generosity of people since Anthony sadly passed away.
“Today is a really special moment in all of that as it’s coming from young people and it’s great to know they cherish his memory like we do. It was the perfect piece; a world-record scrum in his name and money raised also to go to charity.”
She added: “The students deserve so much praise for this as I have heard just how much work they put into it. Aside from the fact that we, as a family, are obviously touched by this effort, individually the students themselves have been part of something very special by setting a world record.”
LIT president Vincent Cunnane applauded the students for organising the event.
“I’m so proud that they would not alone set a world record, which is a huge achievement, but that in doing so they have honoured a legend of Shannon, Munster, and Irish rugby, someone who is still very much in our thoughts on a daily basis. Anthony Foley clearly continues to inspire us,” he said.
One of the organisers, LIT sports management student Robert Lewis, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled. Anthony Foley was a legend and we’ve made our own bit of legend here today by setting a world record in his name.
“A lot of work went into this and to have his family support the event was fantastic.
“To have his father here in the middle of it, setting the scrum, really brought it home. We are just so proud that we’ve achieved this in his name.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved