Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
# gone but not forgotten
Books of condolence to open tomorrow as Munster mourns the passing of a sporting legend
The Irish flag will be flown at half mast outside council offices as a mark of respect.

AS THE COUNTRY comes to terms with the sudden passing of Anthony Foley, the public will be able to express their sympathies when books of condolence open tomorrow afternoon.

Anthony Foley tributes Niall Carson A Munster fan places a tribute on the gates of Thomond Park. Niall Carson

The Munster head coach and former Ireland international died suddenly overnight ahead of the province’s Champions Cup clash with Racing 92 in Paris.

The seven local councils in Munster — Clare County Council, Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Kerry County Council, Limerick City and County Council, Tipperary County Council, Waterford City and County Council – will allow fans to pay their respects from 12pm on Monday.

The Irish flag will also be flown at half mast outside the council offices.

Fans who had travelled to the French capital gathered outside the Stade Yves-du-Manoir, laying flowers on flags and breaking into spontaneous renditions of ‘The Fields of Athenry’.

President Michael D. Higgins, a patron of the IRFU, praised Foley’s ‘huge contribution to the successes of Munster and Ireland, in both his playing and coaching careers.’

Munster fans gather to pay tribute to Anthony Foley the Munster head coach who passed away during the night James Crombie / INPHO A Munster fan during outside Stade-Yves-Du-Manoir in Paris. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

“It is with great sadness that I heard of the sudden death of Anthony Foley, the Munster rugby team’s head coach and one of the great figures of Irish sport in the modern era,” President Higgins said.

Anthony Foley excelled from a young age and made a huge contribution to the successes of Munster and Ireland, in both his playing and coaching careers.
Recognised as a great leader both on and off the pitch, he captained the Heineken Cup winning Munster team and represented his country at all levels, including playing 62 times for the senior team, and as captain on three occasions.
He was regarded with great respect and deep affection not just among the Munster rugby fans but by all those interested in Irish sports and those with whom they interacted abroad.
While news of his death will be received with shock by all those in the rugby and sports world, it is of course first and foremost a great tragedy for his family and close friends.
As President of Ireland, and as Patron of the IRFU, I offer them and Munster rugby my deepest sympathies.

As the tragic news broke, Munster fans hungs flags and jerseys outside Thomond Park in Limerick while there was a minute’s silence at GAA club games across the country.

Exeter Rugby v ASM Clermont Auvergne - European Champions Cup - Pool Five - Sandy Park David Davies A minute's silence is held before the Champions Cup game between Exeter and Clermont. David Davies

At the 62-time capped Irish international’s home club in Shannon, members expressed their sympathy by signing a book of condolence from early afternoon onwards.

Foley is survived by his wife, Olive, and two sons.

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Pure shock in Paris as Munster legend ‘Axel’ Foley passes away