Anthony Foley could walk away as crisis deepens

Head coach Anthony Foley declared he was prepared to walk away from Munster if he felt he could no longer inspire winning performances from his players.

Former captain Foley, currently discussing a one-year extension to the two-year contract he signed when succeeding Rob Penney as the province’s head coach in the summer of 2014, presided over Munster’s elimination from this season’s Champions Cup on Saturday when his side were humiliated 27-7 by 14-man Stade Francais in Paris.

It was a shambolic performance from his players against a side that has struggled in its defence of the Top14 title in France and which featured three academy players and missed a number of key frontliners including Willem Alberts, Will Genia, and Pascal Papé.

Stade even looked better equipped than the Irish visitors when they went a man down on the stroke of half-time following Josaia Raisuqe’s red card and scored two second-half tries as Munster’s defence disintegrated and its offence failed to exploit its numerical advantage, butchering one try with a forward pass from Francis Saili and narrowly avoiding the ignominy of becoming the first Munster side not to score in 21 seasons of European competition when Conor Murray grabbed a late try.

After a miserable run of five straight defeats was ended by a narrow victory over Ulster in Belfast the previous weekend, this was a resumption of the malaise and a deflated and raw Foley, 42, admitted afterwards: “It’s about results and I’ve said it before and I’m clear on it, if I don’t feel I can get results there’s no point in being here.

“I’ve been brought up here. I’ve been here a long time, coming through the schools and everything. It’s about winning, it’s not about people, it’s about getting results. It doesn’t matter.

“Sport has no memory, no conscience, it doesn’t care. You’ve got to be able to do a job and get results.”

Clearly delivered in the emotional moments of a post-match defeat, Foley was asked to clarify whether he was genuinely considering his future at Munster.

“Oh yeah,” he replied, “I’ve just answered the question. Its about looking at everything, I do it on a weekly basis and nearly do it on a daily basis now at this stage.” Foley backed his players, insisting he had not felt let down by them but he has to somehow pick up the pieces from a second successive European exit at the pool stage and prepare his charges for a return fixture with Stade in Limerick on Saturday. That will see Munster looking to avoid a fourth straight defeat at Thomond Park in what is, for them, a dead rubber.

Only pride is on the line for Munster in that regard and the following week at Treviso before the focus returns to the league and a chance for redemption with a run to the Pro12 final.

“We need something,” Foley said. “We were having the same conversation this time last year, around trying to get out of our group, so we need to change something.” He then made a plea to supporters ahead of next weekend’s clash with Stade, adding: “Come out and support us. I think it’s important that we show force and we come out and the boys will turn up and do the best they can.”

More on this topic

Historic West Cork contest ends in Bandon victoryHistoric West Cork contest ends in Bandon victory

Munster need that rare thing in professional sport - timeMunster need that rare thing in professional sport - time

Farrell fires wining penalty as Saracens get breather from salary cap scandalFarrell fires wining penalty as Saracens get breather from salary cap scandal

Munster give nod to the future in dead-rubber win: the game in 60 secondsMunster give nod to the future in dead-rubber win: the game in 60 seconds


Lifestyle

Dr Sarah Miller is the CEO of Dublin’s Rediscovery Centre, the national centre for the Circular Economy in Ireland. She has a degree in Biotechnology and a PHD in Environmental Science in Waste Conversion Technologies.‘We have to give people positive messages’

When I was pregnant with Joan, I knew she was a girl. We didn’t find out the gender of the baby, but I just knew. Or else, I so badly wanted a girl, I convinced myself that is exactly what we were having.Mum's the Word: I have a confession: I never wanted sons. I wanted daughters

What is it about the teenage years that are so problematic for families? Why does the teenage soul rage against the machine of the adult world?Learning Points: It’s not about the phone, it’s about you and your teen

Judy Collins is 80, and still touring. As she gets ready to return to Ireland, she tells Ellie O’Byrne about the songs that have mattered most in her incredible 60-year career.The songs that matter most to Judy Collins from her 60-year career

More From The Irish Examiner