Shannon RFC will pay tribute to the late Anthony Foley by presenting a gift to his family at their last home game of the season in April.
Foley, who passed away in October, won four All Ireland League titles in a row between 1995 and 1998, before going on to forge a very successful career with Munster and Ireland.
Shannon RFC President Noel Healy, who played alongside Foley in the four-in-a-row team, says that the tribute is something that he wants to do to give back to a man who gave so much to the club.
“The girls are getting together in our last home game in April, and we’re going to invite the Foley family in and we’ll be presenting them with a gift.”
“As president and as Anthony’s friend, I’ll be putting something together that I can present to them on the day.
“I don’t know what it is as of yet, but it will be a tribute to what Anthony meant to me and what Anthony meant to our club,” Mr Healy said.
At present Mr Healy has been speaking with Foley’s parents, who said that his family are having a very tough time coming to terms with their loss.
“At the moment, I speak to Brendan [Foley] because Olive is still very raw. I’ve been out at the grave site twice and I’ve been with Brendan and Sheila on two occasions and they both said that it’s still very, very raw for Olive.
“Poor Dan is having a bad turn as well because reality is beginning to set in now for them.”
Mr Healy also spoke of how ‘Axel’ will be remembered by Shannon in years to come because of his contributions to the club during the 1990’s.
“I was 15 years his senior but he spurred me on as a player. He was a leader of leaders back then. The cuteness of him and his rugby knowledge was there to be seen.
“A lot of past players put Shannon on the rugby map in Munster and Ireland. Anthony will go down as a legend because we did lose the likes of Colm Tucker, who was a fantastic player in his own right.
“To speak about legends, Anthony will always be remembered. I’m not saying that Colm and the lads won’t but Anthony Foley is Anthony Foley for what he has done for Shannon, Munster and Irish rugby, and he will never be forgotten.”
Mr Healy also told a story which exemplified the type of character Foley was while he played for Shannon, which shows why he is so fondly remembered by all involved in the club.
“We played St Mary’s in 1999. It was the last game of the group and we needed a win to get a home semi-final. Trevor Brennan was playing opposite us and he was yellow-carded in the first half.
“With about ten minutes to go there was another scrap between Anthony and Brennan, and the referee gave a penalty to us about five metres out from our line and no one else would have done what Anthony Foley did.
“Anthony could see that Trevor was still hyper after the bust-up so he grabbed the ball and tapped it to himself and ran straight into the back of Brennan, which caused another row.
“At the end of it the referee called Trevor over and gave him a yellow card, and we pointed out that it was his second, so he was sent off. We ended up running up the pitch and scoring a try and conversion to win by a point.
“The following week the two lads were called up to the Ireland team and Warren Gatland decided to room them together.
“Trevor had no idea about this so when he went up to the room, he saw Anthony sitting on the bed, and Anthony said: “How are you Trev? Would you like a cup of tea? To which Brennan replied: “A cup of tea? I want to box the head off you.”
“Brennan jumped on top of Anthony, who pushed him off and told him that they needed to put the incident behind them. So they shook hands and became the best of friends,” he said.