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Today's Newspapers Pay Beautiful Tributes To The Great Anthony Foley

Today's Newspapers Pay Beautiful Tributes To The Great Anthony Foley
By Gavin Cooney

The hours have passed, but the shock has yet to subside following yesterday's tragic news that Anthony Foley has passed away at the age of just 42.

Naturally, the news dominates the newspapers across the country. A picture of Foley adorns the front page of every Irish newspaper this morning.

The Irish Independent 

The Indo have included a special, eight-page supplement in memory of Foley. In addition, the front cover of their broadsheet sports section leads with this wonderful image, accompanied by the lyrics to There is an Isle, Shannon RFC's song.

The paper includes tributes from his former teammate Frankie Sheahan, along with further words from Tony Ward, Vincent Hogan, Billy Keane, and David Kelly. Vincent Hogan's piece is typically well-written, with the opening line standing out:

Munster prefers its heroes on the unpretentious side and few men have honoured that contract more naturally than Anthony Foley.

So word have seldom seemed as superflous as they do today, the shock of his passing at 42 all but paralysing a community for whom he has long held such emblematic status.

And no matter the sincerity so palpable in a great ocean of dry-throated tributes decanted by yesterday's awful news from Paris, it was hard to process them sufficiently to hear anything more than air hissing from a valve.

Death is simply not meant to intrude into the world of a young family and, when it does, the only logical thing to do is flounder.

Irish Examiner 

Here's the cover of the Examiner's sports section, as they lead with Foley cradling the silverware so deeply coveted in Limerick:

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Donal Lenihan leads the tributes, and he remembers playing with Brendan Foley, with a young Anthony sitting in the dressing room.

It was my good fortune to make my Munster and Ireland debuts partnering his father Brendan in the second row. I can still see an eight-year-old Anthony Foley sitting in the corner of the Landsdowne Road dressing room normally reserved for front five forwards, waving his homemade tricolour after my first cap against Australia in 1981.

His legs were a few inches were a few inches short of the ground but he wore a contented smile, comfortable in his own surroundings.

Anthony would find a slot all of his own in that same dressing room years later as an integral part of many an Irish back row.

The Irish Times 

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The Times leads the front page of their sports section with a photo of Foley beneath the headline 'Munster mourn loss of a rugby son'.

Liam Toland's words inside are touching:

He was a true friend and one that not just I, but Killaloe, St Munchin's, Shannon, Munster, Ireland and thw wonderful Foley family and his immediate family Olive and kids will miss terribly.

I will miss him terribly. I'm so, so sad, and I know you are too.

"There is an isle"...

Irish Daily Mail 

The Mail bid farewell to a true legend:

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Paul Wallace writes eloquently inside:

To understand where Anthony Foley's great love of rugby came from, all you had to do was be at one of his matches and see the smiles of his parents, Brendan and Sheila.

They were part of the furniture at Munster and a real rugby family.

Irish Mirror 

The Mirror lead with the page below, as they say farewell to a man gone too soon.

Inside, Michael Scully cites these words from Paul O'Connell's autobiography, before the 2006 Heineken Cup final.

"I could hear his voice cracking with emotion and I saw his lips quivering", recalled O'Connell. "He was one of the original standard setters. He'd started the first Heineken Cup game Munster ever played...he was the final survivor of that team.

"He held himself together but it didn't do any of us any harm to see what it meant to him".

The Herald

Here is the Herald's back page, poignantly titled 'Fallen Hero':

Inside, Des Berry cites Stuart Barnes' words on Sky:

He came out of the soil of Munster. It is a terrible sadness that he's going back into that soil too early.

Irish Daily Star

This is the Star's front page:

Foley was a columnist with the Star back in 2001, and they have dipped into the archives to reprint a column from 2001 in which Foley speaks of his pride in captaining Ireland for the first time:

It's my first time to captain my country.

My father Brendan, who also played for Ireland, my mother Sheila, my wife Olive and my sisters Orla and Rosie (who is an Ireland ladies' international) will all be there, so it will be special.

Suffice to say, I think I'll be keeping this jersey.

It will be one of the very few I have hung onto.

The Irish Sun 

Here's the Sun's lead:

They collect a number of the tributes paid to Foley, including that paid by Michael D. Higgins:

Anthony Foley excelled from a young age and made a huge contribution to the successes of Munster and Ireland, in his playing and coaching career.

See Also: Tears In 2006, Tears Today: What It Was Like To Grow Up In Killaloe Worshiping Anthony Foley

See Also: Watch: Tyrone Howe And Stuart Barnes Pay Poignant Tribute To Anthony Foley Live On Sky Sports

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