Paul O'Connell And Ronan O'Gara Still Struggling With Passing Of Anthony Foley

Paul O'Connell And Ronan O'Gara Still Struggling With Passing Of Anthony Foley

Paul O'Connell welled up as he remembered the week of Anthony Foley's funeral.

"We all just wanted to be helping but we were probably in the way, we were like funeral crashers. As long as we were with each other, it was alright but if you were on your own at all, it wasn't a good week," O'Connell said on a new RTÉ documentary about the former Munster head coach.

'Axel Foley: Munsterman' will be broadcast at 9:35 pm on Monday night. The programme will premiere on the one-year anniversary of Foley's death.

To this day, O'Connell still cannot come to terms with the passing of his teammate and friend.

I see photos of him now and I still can’t believe it.

I can’t believe it, can’t understand it, can’t get my head around it.

O'Connell found out about Foley's death, aged just 42, via a phone call from Peter O'Mahony. Ronan O'Gara, a coach with the Racing 92 side Munster were due to face on the day of Foley's death, was told of his passing by Garrett Fitzgerald.


"When I was in the Munster hotel they removed what I now know was Axel from the hotel. That was it and unfortunately, that image can't get out of my head," said O'Gara.

O'Gara called Foley's funeral 'Beautiful. Really class.'

Munster coach Jerry Flannery also recalled the day Foley was laid to rest.

I remember looking up and down the main street in Killaloe and thinking, 'This is like a who's who of every rugby player that I ever looked up to and they're all here for Axel.'

Just a day after the funeral, Munster played a Champions Cup fixture against Glasgow at Thomond Park. Peter O'Mahony said Munster could have fielded ten sides that day such was the number of former players making themselves available.

I was getting phone calls from ex-players saying that if you're a man down or if a man wants to pull out, they're in. They all would have performed, no matter what state they were in.

You can watch Axel Foley: Munsterman at 9:35pm on Monday, October 16th on RTÉ One

PJ Browne
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