Conor Murray has spoken touchingly and eloquently about the death of Anthony Foley and how it still affects him in an honest interview with Donald McRae of 'The Guardian'.
It's hard to think of too many emotions that Conor Murray won't have gone through over the last couple of months. In Ireland's Autumn internationals he established his position as one of the best scrum-halves in the world - some might suggest the best - including putting in a towering performance against New Zealand at Soldier Field in Chicago when Ireland achieved an infamous victory. All the while his Munster side have been performing out of their skins and whispers have begun to surface about a possibility of European glory in 2017. But of course all of this joy has come with a heavy heart for Murray as it is without Anthony Foley, whose tragic death on 16th October in Paris before Munster's Champions Cup game against Racing in Paris still affects Murray and his Munster team-mates.
Murray conducted an interview with Donald McRae for 'The Guardian' and the piece makes for remarkable reading. Murray speaks eloquently and openly about the circumstances surrounding Foley's death and how it has affected him as well as that famous victory in Chicago and the way in which the Ireland players formed a number '8' facing the Haka in tribute to Foley.
The whole article is well worth ten minutes of your time, but the short snippet below from Murray shows how deeply he has been affected by Foley's death.
When you lose someone, you go: ‘Let’s really take life for what it is and enjoy every day.’ After a while you forget and just go back to worrying about things. But Axel’s been dead more than two months and it’s still there for me. Little things don’t stress me any more. It’s had a profound impact and you learn new things.
I didn’t know much about his family life until I went to see (Foley’s wife) Olive and the kids. They have a beautiful home in Killaloe, overlooking the lake, with a wood at the back. Home was the most important thing.
Murray said he was "amazed" that Foley used to ring Olive "15 times a day" because, as he joked, "Axel would barely utter a word to you in the morning." But he gave a sense of what things are like now at Munster, after the initial wave of public reaction to Foley's passing died down.
When death happens you can usually process it. But with Axel I feel he should be here. For a couple of weeks there was so much attention on his death and an outpouring of sympathy. It was beautiful. But now everyone is carrying on – which is strange but natural. Axel would want us to carry on. He continues to inspire us.