Mayor of Limerick Kieran O'Hanlon unveils the memorial with Orla Foley, Rosie Foley, Brendan Foley and Olive Foley Picture: Sean Curtin
THE LEGACY of rugby legend Anthony ‘Axel’ Foley has been immortalised in a monument dedicated to the late Shannon, Munster and Ireland star.
The memorial was the initiative of the Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon and was unveiled in a low-key event attended by the late player’s wife Olive, sons Tony and Dan, father and mother Brendan and sisters Rosie and Orla.
Anthony Foley died suddenly in Paris last October.
A number of the Foley family’s closest friends were also in attendance, among them Keith Wood and Marcus Horan.
Axel’s sister Rosie said that the “outstanding tribute” has been erected at a “beautiful location” along Clancy Strand, just yards from the iconic Treaty Stone.
“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,” she said.
Unveiling the memorial, Mayor O’Hanlon said that every rugby fan “had their own special relationship” with the former Munster Rugby boss “because he was that modest every day type of guy who just happened to be one of our greatest and most celebrated rugby 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,” he said.