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‘Poignant’ And ‘Powerful’ – Huge Reaction To Last Night’s Heartbreaking Anthony Foley Documentary

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the passing of the late, Anthony Foley. The St. Munchin’s, Shannon, Munster and Ireland legend passed away this time last year on the morning his Munster side were set to take on Racing 92 in Paris. 

His death shocked the rugby world and the outpouring of grief in the aftermath of his untimely passing offered just a glimpse into the considerable impact he had on people’s lives and that included colleagues, players, friends, teammates and of course, his loving family.

RTÉ aired a documentary last night entitled ‘Anthony Foley: Munsterman’ and it was incredible viewing. The first half documented Foley’s childhood – growing up in Killaloe, Co. Clare and his love for rugby which began with Shannon RFC and his school, St. Munchin’s. We were brought through a wonderful journey which showed his rise through the rugby ranks which ultimately led to playing for Ireland and captaining Munster to Heineken Cup glory in 2006 after so many years of heartbreak.

Rather poignantly, it offered us a rare glimpse into the incredible father and husband that Foley was. The documentary showed us the ‘family man’ and there was some heartbreaking footage of Foley enjoying time with his young children and his father, Brendan Foley.

The second half of the documentary went through his post-playing career. We saw his pride at finally landing the head coaching role with Munster and then the difficulties he faced in his role of leading the province. The documentary did an excellent job of not painting over the rather unsavoury moments of Foley’s head coaching time with Munster, especially the Thomond Park match against the Leicester Tigers when a small section of the support made their feelings known towards Foley and of course, Ian Keatley.

Rosie Foley, Anthony’s sister, featured heavily throughout the documentary and she explained how those two years were really difficult for her brother but that he had finally started smiling again and enjoying his rugby after the arrival of Rassie Erasmus because he could finally focus on his love, coaching, rather than dealing with the stressful elements of the job such as administrative and media matters.

Finally, we were brought the raw and painful experience of his death and the days which followed.

It was excellent viewing and the likes of Jerry Flannery, Paul O’Connell, Keith Earls, Keith Wood, Simon Zebo, Ian Keatley and Conor Murray speak with such honesty and emotion throughout documentary.

It’s definitely worth a watch and it’s safe to say it received and overwhelmingly positive reaction on Twitter.

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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email [email protected] or on Twitter