Calling All Munster Supporters, A New Journey Awaits Us

axel1

Do it for Axel.

This weekend for the first time in a very long time there is a sense of anticipation in the air. While Anthony Foley’s friends and family mourn his death, we as Munster supporters, have been given the opportunity to celebrate his life.

For the first time in many months, even years, we will need to begin our journey two hours before kick-off, we’ll park up the cars and a sea of red will once again march over the Sarsfield and Shannon bridges and descend upon Thomond Park.

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This weekend however, isn’t just about rugby, or results- it’s about a journey. Anthony Foley’s journey with Munster began way back in 1995 when he made his debut for the province. For the next decade or so he had many highs and many lows before finally capturing the holy grail in 2006.

We as supporters followed him and his Munster team however, on that journey, through thick and thin. Just like the current crop of players, Anthony’s team didn’t always win, there were many heartbreaks along the way, but we stuck with them, just like we need to stick with this current group of players.

Anthony Foley and Paul O'Connell after the game 23/4/2006

On Sunday afternoon we were all shocked and saddened by the news that one of our most famous sons had tragically passed away. Our dear captain, head coach and hero had been taken away from us in an instant at the tender age of 42. As Munster fans we have suffered many heartbreaks over the years. All those quarter finals, those semi-finals, those finals in 2000 and 2002, but nothing comes even close to the heartbreak we have suffered over the last few days.

We have a chance this Saturday however, to turn that heartbreak into a celebration of life. We have a chance to honour our fallen hero and reminisce about all the joy he brought us over the years. For many years we as Munster supporters were almost as famous as the players themselves, we were the driving force behind every team that took the field. It’s time to drive on once more. It’s time to start a new journey in honour of Anthony.

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There will be highs and there will be lows, but I promise you there will never be a low as bad as the one we are feeling right now. We will win, we will lose, we will be heartbroken along the way, but it will be an amazing journey, and at the end of the day- it’s the journey that makes it all worthwhile.

It’s tragic that a man had to give up his life to reignite the spark that is Munster Rugby, but it is somewhat befitting that it was a man that kept it lit for so many years and gave his whole life to Munster, that has done so.

Anthony’s heart failed him, don’t let his beloved province fail him too.

See you Saturday. #SUAF

Jason Hennessy.

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