Anthony Foley was the most fearsome of opponents. His status as one of Shannon’s greatest ever players is copper fastened in their fantastic four-in-a-row AIL league titles from 1994-1998. His natural progression to the Munster team and to earn over 60 caps for Ireland is testament to his ability and skill. His intelligence and love of the game saw him continue to join the coaching team at Munster Rugby.
For many of the Lansdowne senior team alumni, especially those that packed down against Foley during the historic four-in-a-row, to a man, they are numb from the shock that one so young and so talented could be taken so early. Indeed, that sense of loss is felt across the entire club.
Club and provincial rugby is a tight community in Ireland and to lose a man of Foley's stature is a huge blow. His legacy will live on and there is no doubt that for as long and wherever the name 'Anthony Foley' is mentioned, it will give cause for reflection to a fallen hero, a man loved and worshipped by those who knew him and respected by those who played against him.
There have been many beautiful and poignant pieces written about this great man but there is a line in Billy Keane’s piece in the Independent that catches the eye:
'Jonathan Sexton told me of Foley's lines to the Irish team when he was defence coach under Declan Kidney. The call was 'a warrior is brought off the field on his shield'. He was very nice to a young Leinster kid back then.'
Who was to know that the warrior Foley was himself ‘to be carried from the field,’ one last time. Much too early, much too young.
On this saddest of occasions, the President, members and players of Lansdowne FC extend their deepest sympathies to Anthony’s wife and children, the extended Foley family, the rugby fraternity at our great Limerick rivals Shannon RFC, and to the players, coaching staff and supporters of Munster Rugby.