Luigi Orlandi, who runs a fish and chip business in Parnell St in the city, recalled: “When Anthony led Munster back to Limerick in 2006 as European champions, he insisted that instead of champagne, he’d fill the cup with something better. Anthony and a few of the team came in as they went around the pubs with the huge cup.
“Anthony asked me to fill the cup with my best crispy chips. I thought I’d have to get a garden shovel to fill the cup. When I’d done the order, they headed off to Rasher’s pub up the street with the cup full of my best chips.”
Donal Mulcahy, owner of Rasher’s pub, said: “Anthony came in with Paul O’Connell and a lot of the team and when they produced the cup I realised it was full of Luigi’s piping hot chips. The chips were great soakage for the liquid celebration they were having.”
Donal said he had planned to go to Munster’s match with Racing 92 in Paris on Sunday — a match that was postponed by mutual consent due to the Munster coach’s sudden and untimely death at 42. However, he decided not to as he had arranged to go to Chicago for Ireland’s match with New Zealand in two weeks’ time.
“I played with St Mary’s years ago and after Anthony’s dad, Brendan, retired from senior rugby he came back for one year playing junior rugby with St Mary’s and I played alongside him,” he said.
“Anthony was a great friend. It’s hard to take in.”
Mary Mitchell yesterday summed up the prevailing sentiment in Limerick following the rugby legend’s death.
Signing the book of condolence at Limerick City Hall, Ms Mitchell remarked: “Anthony was one of our own.” She was one of hundreds who queued in rain and wind to pay their tribute.
“I was brought up in Thomondgate across the road from Thomond Park and I loved going there with my late husband, Mike to watch Munster. Anthony was special,” she said.
Also there was former mayor of Limerick, Kathleen Leddin. Ms Leddin, aged 76, said: “I feel so sorry for his wife and their young children. He was a man everybody looked up to, young and old. He dedicated his life to sport and excelled at it.”
Bishop of Limerick, Dr Brendan Leahy joined in the tributes and said: “Whether on or off the field, Anthony displayed the same characteristics of honesty, integrity, loyalty, dignity and more.”