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Brian O'Driscoll remembers Anthony Foley: 'It's appallingly sad, he was very important to me'

Published 17/10/2016

Munster Rugby fans place tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Munster Rugby fans place tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Munster Rugby fans place tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Munster Rugby queue to sign a book of condolances at Shannon Rugby Club in Thomond Park, Limerick, after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick placed by Munster Rugby fans after the death of head coach Anthony Foley.Niall Carson/PA Wire
Tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick placed by Munster Rugby fans after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Munster Rugby fans place tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick placed by Munster Rugby fans after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick placed by Munster Rugby fans after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Munster Rugby fans place tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Munster Rugby fans place tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick placed by Munster Rugby fans after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Players stand for a minutes silence in memory of Munster head coach and former Irish international Anthony Foley who died today in a Paris hotel during the European Rugby Champions Cup rugby union match between Exeter Chiefs and Clermont Auvergne at Sandy Park Stadium in Exeter, south west England, on October 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Geoff CADDICKGEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on October 16, 2016 shows a Munster flag and flowers hanging at the grid of the Yves du Manoir stadium in Colombes, outside Paris, in tribute to Munster head coach Anthony Foley who died suddenly. Munster head coach Anthony Foley died suddenly in Paris on Sunday, at the age of 42, causing the Irish province's European Champions Cup match against Racing 92 to be postponed. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
EXETER, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 16: A minutes silence is held in memory of Munster Head Coach Anothony Foley who passed away at the age of 42 during the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Exeter Chiefs and ASM Clermont Auvergne at Sandy Park on October 16, 2016 in Exeter, United Kingdom. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 16: Munster fans place flowers and flags as a mark of respect after hearing of the news of the death of Munster coach Anthony Foley prior to the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Racing 92 and Munster at Stade Yves-Du-Manoir on October 16, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 16: Munster fans sign a book of condolence after hearing of the news of the death of Munster coach Anthony Foley prior to the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Racing 92 and Munster at Stade Yves-Du-Manoir on October 16, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 16: Munster fans sing the Munster anthem, The Fields of Anthenry as a mark of respect after hearing of the news of the death of Munster coach Anthony Foley prior to the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Racing 92 and Munster at Stade Yves-Du-Manoir on October 16, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 16: A Munster fan signs a book of condolence after hearing of the news of the death of Munster coach Anthony Foley prior to the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Racing 92 and Munster at Stade Yves-Du-Manoir on October 16, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 16: Match officials, including the referee Wayne Barnes (R) look dejected after hearing of the news of the death of Munster coach Anthony Foley prior to the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Racing 92 and Munster at Stade Yves-Du-Manoir on October 16, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 16: Munster fans in tears after hearing of the news of the death of Munster coach Anthony Foley prior to the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Racing 92 and Munster at Stade Yves-Du-Manoir on October 16, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 16: Munster fans take part in a minutes applause as a mark of respect after hearing of the news of the death of Munster coach Anthony Foley prior to the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Racing 92 and Munster at Stade Yves-Du-Manoir on October 16, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 16: Munster fans console each other after hearing of the news of the death of Munster coach Anthony Foley prior to the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Racing 92 and Munster at Stade Yves-Du-Manoir on October 16, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 16: Munster fans tie Munster flags to the railings of the stadium after hearing of the news of the death of Munster coach Anthony Foley prior to the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Racing 92 and Munster at Stade Yves-Du-Manoir on October 16, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 16: A Munster fan signs a book of condolence after hearing of the news of the death of Munster coach Anthony Foley prior to the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Racing 92 and Munster at Stade Yves-Du-Manoir on October 16, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 16: Munster fans sign a book of condolence after hearing of the news of the death of Munster coach Anthony Foley prior to the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Racing 92 and Munster at Stade Yves-Du-Manoir on October 16, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Brian O'Driscoll has revealed how Anthony Foley helped him settle into the role of Ireland captain as he looked back on their friendship.

Foley tragically passed away over the weekend at just 42, with O'Driscoll appearing on the Off The Ball show on Newstalk to share his memories of the Munster legend.

O'Driscoll was appointed as Ireland captain at just 23 years of age in 2002, when Foley was one of the senior players in the team. The move to make someone so young the skipper of the national team surprised many, but O'Driscoll says that Foley made his transition into the role easier with his guidance.

"It's appallingly sad," O'Driscoll said.

"We played an awful lot of games, he was very important to me. I think I was lucky that I got his respect early.

"And then he became very important to me from a captaincy point of view. I was given the captaincy, probably in place of him when Keith Wood was injured prior to the World Cup in 2003 and I was chosen by Eddie (O'Sullivan).

"He could have thrown the toys out of the cot but he did anything but. He became a very important leader within the team, helping me along. I think that early relationship really benefited me in that we did have mutual respect."

O'Driscoll also revealed how he first heard the news, which filtered through from a whatsapp group he has with his BT colleagues.

“We’ve a BT Whatsapp group and I saw lots of them coming in but I didn’t see the original," he said.

"I just saw ‘terrible news’, ‘that’s awful’ and I just read from the bottom up to the top and my heart nearly jumped out of my chest when I read the opening one."

Anthony Foley 1973-2016
Anthony Foley 1973-2016

Irish Independent

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