Jerry Flannery: "Axel has been a hero to me since I was 12"

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent


Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent


Jerry Flannery: "Axel has been a hero to me since I was 12"

MUNSTER scrum coach Jerry Flannery said their late head coach Anthony Foley would have loved the way the team performed in their runaway Champions Cup win over Glasgow.

Munster's first outing since the sudden death of former team captain Foley resulted in a thumping 38-17 victory for the home side at an emotion-filled Thomond Park on Saturday.

At full-time Anthony Foley's two young sons, Tony and Dan, joined the Munster players arm in arm in the centre circle for a rousing rendition of Stand Up and Fight.

Former Munster captain Foley would have been proud how the forwards played on Saturday, grinding Glasgow into submission. Scrum coach Flannery, who followed a similar career path to Foley's through St Munchin's College, Shannon, Munster and Ireland could take great satifaction from the display of the pack.

Afterwards an emotional Flannery said Foley had been his hero from the time he was 12 years of age.

Flannery said:“It is incredible. It was the hardest week of my life and for pretty much all of us involved with Munster it was the hardest week you could ever come across. Rassie said it before the game, he said that after we went through this week the game was going to be easy.

“We lost a guy who was the heart and soul of this club and a hero. Personally to me he has been a hero since I was 12. We will miss him, but he would have loved today.

“The thing for us was that it was so difficult coming into the game, particularly for the players, and I can't pay enough tributes to those players, the mental strength tha they showed. What we said before the game was that we just wante d to go out and play the way Axel wanted us to play. You can see how much it means to us, I could just imagine how Olive, Dan, Tony, Brendan and Sheila and his sisters are feeling. For the family it is just such a huge loss.

“We were just trying to pay tribute to Axel as best we could. I think the players went out and they showed to everyone - not just those here in Munster because everyone here knows what Axel means to us but to the whole world.”