One of the icons of Limerick, Munster and Ireland rugby, Anthony Foley, passed away unexpectedly in Paris on Sunday morning.
The Munster head coach was in the French capital for Sunday’s Champions Cup game with Racing 92.
The news of his sudden death broke in a short statement from the I.R.F.U. and Munster Rugby. “It is with deep regret that the Irish Rugby Football Union and Munster Rugby must advise of the passing overnight of Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley, at the team hotel in Paris,” the official statement read.
Born in 1973 into a strong Limerick rugby family, his father Brendan earned 11 caps for Ireland, and Anthony went on to repres-ent Ireland 62 times. He represented Munster on 202 occasions and won two Heineken Cup medals with the province, the first as captain in 2006.
He first came to prominence in schoolboy rugby in St. Munchin’s College before going on to help Shannon win four All-Ireland League titles.
The President, Michael D. Higgins led tributes this week to the late rugby great. Tributes poured in, not only from former rugby team mates and opponents, but from all walks of life.
In an outpouring of sadness and testimony to the esteem in which Anthony Foley was held, hundreds of Munster rugby fans have been turning up at the Munster Rugby shrine at Thomond Park and Independent Park in Cork to lay flowers and Munster memorabilia at both stadia.
Books of condolence are open at both stadia, at Shannon clubhouse and in local authorities throughout the province.
Anthony Foley is survived by his wife Olive, sons Tony and Dan, parents, sisters and extended family.