A memorial stone has been unveiled in honour of Munster and Ireland’s favourite No. 8, the late Anthony Foley, alongside the River Shannon Clancy’s Strand in Limerick city.
The 2 metre high sculpture, depicting Foley charging with ball in hand, was commissioned by Limerick City and County Council in memory of the local rugby legend who died suddenly last October in Paris.
The memorial was the initiative of the Limerick Mayor Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon and was unveiled in a low-key event attended by Anthony’s wife Olive, sons Tony and Dan, his father and mother and sisters Rosie and Orla. Some of the Foley family’s closest friends were also in attendance, among them Keith Wood and Marcus Horan.
At the unveiling Mayor O’Hanlon said: “This is a fanatical rugby city and county, with many heroes but they did not come bigger or prouder than Anthony Foley. Every rugby fan had their own special relationship with Anthony because he was that modest, every day type of guy, who just happened to be one of our greatest and most celebrated stars.
“Given the city’s relationship with him and the sense of loss that people will have for a long time to come, a loss that pales in comparison with what his family is going through, we wanted to come up with something that the public could connect with and relate to and the memorial stone has done that for us.
“The location is special and very appropriate. Clancy’s Strand is a place that thousands pass by on rugby match days so many, as they do so, will be able to pay their respects and acknowledge Anthony. But it’s also a popular route for a walk in the city and on any given day there will be many, many people who will stop and take time at this memorial.”
Anthony’s sister Rosie commented: “It’s a beautiful location and an outstanding tribute. It’s a sculpture in limestone from Clare, erected here in Limerick, close to Thomond Park and by the very river that we grew up beside out in Killaloe. Anthony wouldn’t have liked the fuss or anything like that but at the same time we are delighted as a family to have him honoured in this way.
“We have been overwhelmed by all the kindnesses, including this. The outpouring is amazing, not just from the rugby community but the wider sporting community, supporters, people that we will never actually get to thank. But we really do appreciate all the help and support they have given us through a tough time.”