Limerick lines out at Thomond Park for Anthony Foley

Anthony Foley’s final journey through Limerick paused at the foothills of his rugby youth as darkness fell last night.
Limerick lines out at Thomond Park for Anthony Foley

First, Thomond Park, where as a child he laced his boots to do battle with Shannon under-age teams, and then St Munchin’s College, where he grew to international schoolboy stature.

From the diocesan college, he proceeded to win acclaim in the hemispheres, never forgetting the Limerick rugby nurseries, the workbench of his skills.

As the hearse came by the front gates of Thomond Park, a great silence descended among the crowd of over 1,000 people.

Shannon Club president Noel Healy came forward, opening the night sky with a rendition of the Shannon RFC anthem ‘There Is An Isle.’

The crowd joined in, as though launching a cry to the gods: Look after our great fallen hero. Boys and girls in the Shannon colours stood in awe as the club hierarchy took the final salute.

Noel Healy, holding back tears, said: “He was my best friend. We are a big rugby family and we have lost one of our sons. Anthony was known for Munster and Ireland, but he was always a Shannon man with a huge heart, both on and off the field. When I was 15 years older than Anthony, I played with him in the pack. You always knew he was there, brave and strong.”

The cortege with garda motorcycle outriders then crept along silent streets to Corbally and St Munchin’s College, where over 600 teachers, students and past pupils applauded in tribute.

The tributes still pile up on the front gates of Thomond Park.

One had the lines
Up stood Axel Foley
The captain at the gate
Saying everyman must upon this earth
One day meet his fate
What better way to die
Than to fight against the odds
For the ashes of our fathers
And the temple of our gods.
Late last night Anthony Foley was back home in Killaloe.

Anthony Foley’s career in pictures

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