A GROUP of LIT students have ensured that Anthony Foley's name will enter yet another record book - this time the Guinness Book of World Records.
1,740 students and staff, together with children from local primary schools, people from rugby clubs, fathers and mothers, sons, daughters, right up to pensioners, took part in the Scrum for Axel world record attempt at Moylish this Tuesday, breaking the record for the world's largest scrum and raising funds for charity in the process.
Appropriately and poignantly, Anthony’s sister Rosie – herself a former Ireland rugby international - was even on hand to help set the scrum.
The formation was in keeping with the standard scrum; three front rows, two second rows and three back-rows locking down in repeat scrums side by side he length of LIT's GAA pitches.
Adjudicators from Ernst and Young were present for the record-breaking attempt, and documentary evidence has now been sent to the Guinness Book of World Records for official ratification.
The previous record, held in Fukuroi, Japan and set in September 2016, was just short of 1,600, so the LIT endeavour has paid off.
Rosie Foley said the family had been humbled yet again by the continued dedication to Anthony’s memory.
"So many of these students would even have been too young to see Anthony play. Yet they have created this piece of history in his honour," she said, speaking in the shadow of Thomond Park, where her brother excelled in his pomp and before his sudden and tragic passing in October.
"We’ve been so humbled by the tributes, the incredible support and the all-round generosity of people since Anthony sadly passed away. Today is a really special moment in all of that as it’s coming from young people and it’s great to know they cherish his memory like we do. It was the perfect piece; a world record scrum in his name and money raised also to go to charity.
"The students deserve so much praise for this as I have heard just how much work they put into it. Aside from the fact that we as a family are obviously touched by this effort, individually the students themselves have been part of something very special by setting a world record," she added.
LIT president Vincent Cunnane said: "I’m just very proud of our students, that they would not alone set a world record, which is a huge achievement, but that in doing so they have honoured a legend of Shannon, Munster and Irish rugby, someone who is still very much in our thoughts on a daily basis. Anthony Foley clearly continues to inspire us."
Speaking to the Limerick Leader before the record attempt, Mr Cunnane said: "A huge amount of logistics goes into this, as we have to adhere to the Guinness world record rules. It may look chaotic at the moment but it's all very organised.
"We are taking them out in batches of 50. So there's a lot going on and we are happy to be trying to break the record and are delighted that the Foley family have endorsed this. They are very much a part of this, which has made a big difference to this.
"We just seem to have touched a nerve, one that people wanted to do something that they honor," he added.
LIT student Robert Lewis said the idea “came about shortly after Anthony Foley’s passing as it seemed a fitting way to commemorate him and a way of raising money for charity.
“We’re delighted that his family are supporting us, and we’re fundraising for a charity of the family’s choice. Schools, clubs and individuals have come on board to support it, and we’re pretty overwhelmed by the reaction really,” he added.
Jerry Flannery, who was supporting the effort, said it was a “fantastic idea”.
“I would love to see as many people as possible answering the call to come along and scrum it out. We’re remembering Anthony by setting a world record and raising money for a good cause in the process,” he said.