Ronan O’Gara Wrote A Tremendous Piece On Anthony Foley Today
Beautiful piece from a friend and former teammate aptly named ‘A week we want to forget. A friend we will never forget’
Writing in his Irish Examiner column – O’Gara explains how silence fell upon the Racing squad when news emerged that Foley has passed away, hours from their crucial Champions Cup clash.
Munster never got to the ground in Colombes. Racing had been and left. We drop the gear there early before repairing to a nearby hotel for a team meeting and a pre-match meal.
I told one or two of the players before the team meeting that there was no game. Word spread quickly. This was around 1pm Irish time. I told our joint head coach Laurent Labit I had just got a call. They [Racing] were brilliant in the way they immediately said it was not possible to play the game, even though a postponement hadn’t even been mooted at this point.
‘Foley? Foley’s a legend’, Labit said. ‘The Munster players cannot play’.
I think Garret [Fitzgerald, Munster chief executive] had rang the EPCR and said if you want to give the game to Racing, do so, but our [Racing’s] coaches had said under no circumstances would that happen. And these were some circumstances. Our boys were having coffee, getting strapped up. Once they heard the reason, there was just silent disbelief.
O’Gara will be in attendance at tomorrow’s game with Glasgow and he explains why the Limerick crowd will play their most important role ever during tomorrow’s fixture:
We will get through Killaloe because Munster’s knees don’t buckle. They’ll stand firm. Tomorrow at Thomond Park, Munster and Glasgow heads will be all over the place. The players will be emotionally drained because it’s too much for any human to be able to park what’s happened.
You can’t do that. But what we will see is the crowd at Thomond Park carrying the Munster team. There is only one man who could trigger the tsunami of emotion we are bracing ourselves for, and that is Axel, because that ground hasn’t been full in a few years, and there’s one reason it’ll be full tomorrow – to go an respect Axel. That’s why I’m going.