Anthony Foley’s generous spirit still at work for West Limerick fundraiser

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Email:

normap@limerickleader.ie

The framed Axel jersey

The framed Axel jersey

A MUNSTER jersey, signed by the late Anthony Foley and the Munster team is generating a lot of excitement and anticipation in West Limerick and further afield.

The jersey has been put up for auction by the Abha Bhán Parish Park committee in Loughill- Ballyhahill and started off with a €100 bid. But now there is a solid bid of €1,500 on the table for the jersey which was signed in Thomond Park in April 2016, just six months before Anthony’s death.

It has all come as a bit of a pleasant surprise for the hard-working committee who, over the past three years, have transformed their dream into reality and transformed a field at the centre of Loughill into a park for all ages and abilities.

“We were hoping to make €1,000,” Declan Hallett, the committee chairman said. “The bidding opened at €100 and within the first half-hour it had gone to €500. We have gone to €1,500 now and it is still open.”

But he revealed: “It was only when we got the jersey framed we realised that Axel had signed the jersey too.”

Anthony was head coach in Munster at the time, Declan pointed out, and brought the jersey into Thomond Park to be signed.

At that time, the Abha Bhán Parish Park project was just starting out on its ambitious journey, a journey that is now nearing its end. The park is expected to open shortly, providing a public space for locals and an attractive stopping off place for passing visitors. The park, located on the banks of the Abha Bhán river, includes a playground, a sensory garden, an all-weather pitch and a walking/running circuit and has been fully landscaped and provided with benches.

The project has cost about €500,000, Declan explained, €360,000 of which came from a Sports Capital grant, the JP McManus Foundation and Limerick City and County Council.

But the remainder has been raised locally, through donations of money and fundraising events from the community and crucially, through donations of equipment and labour by local volunteers.

The Axel jersey will help ensure the project will begin life debt free.

The jersey has been professionally framed and is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Munster Rugby.

“This is a very genuine piece of Axel memorabilia with the proceeds going towards a very genuine cause so genuine offers only please.”

Bids will be accepted until the end of March, by email on abhabhanpp@gmail.com or leave a private message on the Facebook page, Abha Bhán Parish Park.