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Peter O'Mahony pays tribute to Anthony Foley as Munster match gets go-ahead

Published 20/10/2016

Crowds line the street as a hearse carrying the coffin of Shannon and Munster Rugby club's head coach Anthony Foley passes Thomond Park stadium in Limerick. PA
Crowds line the street as a hearse carrying the coffin of Shannon and Munster Rugby club's head coach Anthony Foley passes Thomond Park stadium in Limerick. PA
Crowds line the street as a hearse carrying the coffin of Shannon and Munster Rugby club's head coach Anthony Foley passes Thomond Park stadium in Limerick. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 19, 2016. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Crowds line the street as a hearse carrying the coffin of Shannon and Munster Rugby club's head coach Anthony Foley passes Thomond Park stadium in Limerick. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 19, 2016. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Crowds line the street as a hearse carrying the coffin of Shannon and Munster Rugby club's head coach Anthony Foley passes Thomond Park stadium in Limerick. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 19, 2016. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Crowds line the street as a hearse carrying the coffin of Shannon and Munster Rugby club's head coach Anthony Foley passes Thomond Park stadium in Limerick. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 19, 2016. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Crowds line the street as a hearse carrying the coffin of Shannon and Munster Rugby club's head coach Anthony Foley passes Thomond Park stadium in Limerick. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 19, 2016. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Players from Shannon and Munster Rugby clubs wait outside Thomond park in Limerick for the remains of Munster's head coach Anthony Foley to pass by the stadium on their way to his family home. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 19, 2016. See PA story DEATH Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
A woman views tributes to Munster Rugby Coach Anthony Foley At Thomond Park in Limerick. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 19, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Munster. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Tributes to Munster Rugby Coach Anthony Foley at Thomond Park in Limerick. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 19, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Munster. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Tributes to Munster Rugby Coach Anthony Foley At Thomond Park in Limerick. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 19, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Munster. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Tributes to Munster Rugby Coach Anthony Foley At Thomond Park in Limerick. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 19, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Munster. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
School children look at tributes to Munster Rugby Coach Anthony Foley At Thomond Park in Limerick. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 19, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Munster. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
People leave tributes to Munster Rugby Coach Anthony Foley At Thomond Park in Limerick. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 19, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Munster. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
People queue to sign a book of condolence for former Ireland and Munster star Anthony Foley at Limerick Council offices, after the 42-year-old head coach was found dead in the province's team hotel in Paris on Sunday, hours before the team were due to take to the pitch in the European Champions Cup. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 17, 2016. See PA story DEATH Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
A Munster Rugby fan pays tribute to former Ireland and Munster star Anthony Foley outside Thomond Park in Limerick, after the 42-year-old head coach was found dead in the province's team hotel in Paris on Sunday, hours before the team were due to take to the pitch in the European Champions Cup. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 17, 2016. See PA story DEATH Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
A Munster Rugby fan pays tribute to former Ireland and Munster star Anthony Foley outside Thomond Park in Limerick, after the 42-year-old head coach was found dead in the province's team hotel in Paris on Sunday, hours before the team were due to take to the pitch in the European Champions Cup. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 17, 2016. See PA story DEATH Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Munster Rugby fans pay tribute to former Ireland and Munster star Anthony Foley outside Thomond Park in Limerick, after the 42-year-old head coach was found dead in the province's team hotel in Paris on Sunday, hours before the team were due to take to the pitch in the European Champions Cup. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 17, 2016. See PA story DEATH Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Munster Rugby fans pay tribute to former Ireland and Munster star Anthony Foley outside Thomond Park in Limerick, after the 42-year-old head coach was found dead in the province's team hotel in Paris on Sunday, hours before the team were due to take to the pitch in the European Champions Cup. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 17, 2016. See PA story DEATH Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
RETRANSMITTING CORRECTING FIRST NAME TO ANNA Munster Rugby fan Anna O'Neill (left) pays tribute to former Ireland and Munster star Anthony Foley outside Thomond Park in Limerick, after the 42-year-old head coach was found dead in the province's team hotel in Paris on Sunday, hours before the team were due to take to the pitch in the European Champions Cup. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 17, 2016. See PA story DEATH Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
RETRANSMITTING CORRECTING FIRST NAME TO ANNA Munster Rugby fan Anna O'Neill pays tribute to former Ireland and Munster star Anthony Foley outside Thomond Park in Limerick, after the 42-year-old head coach was found dead in the province's team hotel in Paris on Sunday, hours before the team were due to take to the pitch in the European Champions Cup. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 17, 2016. See PA story DEATH Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Munster Rugby fans Dermot Kelly and Tom Galvin (right) pay tribute to former Ireland and Munster star Anthony Foley outside Thomond Park in Limerick, after the 42-year-old head coach was found dead in the province's team hotel in Paris on Sunday, hours before the team were due to take to the pitch in the European Champions Cup. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 17, 2016. See PA story DEATH Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
A Leinster flag amongst tributes to former Ireland and Munster star Anthony Foley outside Thomond Park in Limerick, after the 42-year-old head coach was found dead in the province's team hotel in Paris on Sunday, hours before the team were due to take to the pitch in the European Champions Cup. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 17, 2016. See PA story DEATH Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Munster Rugby players pay tribute to former Ireland and Munster star Anthony Foley outside Thomond Park in Limerick, after the 42-year-old head coach was found dead in the province's team hotel in Paris on Sunday, hours before the team were due to take to the pitch in the European Champions Cup. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 17, 2016. See PA story DEATH Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Munster Rugby fan Ann O'Neill (left) pays tribute to former Ireland and Munster star Anthony Foley outside Thomond Park in Limerick, after the 42-year-old head coach was found dead in the province's team hotel in Paris on Sunday, hours before the team were due to take to the pitch in the European Champions Cup. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 17, 2016. See PA story DEATH Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
File photo dated 20/12/15 of Munster's head coach Anthony Foley, as rugby fans and members of the public are paying personal tributes to the former Ireland and Munster star. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday October 17, 2016. The 42-year-old head coach was found dead in the province's team hotel in Paris on Sunday, hours before the team were due to take to the pitch in the European Champions Cup. See PA story DEATH Foley. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire
Munster Rugby fans place tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 16, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
File photo dated 17-01-2015 of Munster's Head Coach Anthony Foley. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday October 17, 2016. The world of rugby has united to pay tribute to Munster head coach Anthony Foley, who has died at the age of 42. See PA story RUGBYU Foley. Photo credit should read Nigel French/PA Wir
Tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick placed by Munster Rugby fans after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 16, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Munster Rugby fans place tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 16, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Foley. Photo credit should read: 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. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 16, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick placed by Munster Rugby fans after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 16, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick placed by Munster Rugby fans after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 16, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick placed by Munster Rugby fans after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 16, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Munster Rugby fans place tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 16, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick placed by Munster Rugby fans after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 16, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Munster Rugby fans place tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 16, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Munster Rugby fans place tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 16, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Exeter Chiefs and Clermont Auvergne respect a minutes silence for Munster coach Anthony Foley before the European Champions Cup, pool five match at Sandy Park, Exeter. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 16, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Exeter. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire
Munster Rugby fans place tributes outside Thomond Park in Limerick after the death of head coach Anthony Foley. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 16, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Foley. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Former Irish rugby star and coach Anthony Foley
Exeter Chiefs and Clermont Auvergne respect a minutes silence for Munster coach Anthony Foley before the European Champions Cup, pool five match at Sandy Park, Exeter. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 16, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Exeter. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire
File photo dated 08-03-2003 of Ireland's David Humpheys (left) and Anthony Foley (right) celebrate their team's victory against France, during the RBS 6 Nations Championship match at Ireland's Lansdowne Road stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday October 16, 2016. Anthony Foley has died at the team hotel in Paris before their European Champions Cup tie against Racing 92, the Irish club have announced. See PA story RUGBYU Foley. Photo credit should read Tom Hevezi/PA Wire.
File photo dated 14-05-2005 of Munster captain Anthony Foley (L) and manager Alan Gaffney celebrate with the Celtic Cup after beating Llanelli Scarlets. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday October 16, 2016. Munster head coach Anthony Foley has died at the team hotel in Paris, the Irish club have announced. See PA story RUGBYU Foley. Photo credit should read Haydn West/PA Wire.
File photo dated 20-05-2006 of Munster captain Anthony Foley lifts the Heineken Cup following the Heineken Cup final against Biarritz at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday October 16, 2016. Munster head coach Anthony Foley has died at the team hotel in Paris before their European Champions Cup tie against Racing 92, the Irish club have announced. See PA story RUGBYU Foley. Photo credit should read David Davies/PA Wire.
File photo dated 20-03-2004 of Ireland's Anthony Foley wins the RBS man-of-the-match award following their RBS 6 Nations match against Italy at Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Ireland won 19-3. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday October 16, 2016. Munster head coach Anthony Foley has died at the team hotel in Paris, the Irish club have announced. See PA story RUGBYU Foley. Photo credit should read Nick Potts/PA Wire.
File photo dated 14-05-2005 of Munster captain Anthony Foley celebrates with the Celtic Cup after beating Llanelli Scarlets. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday October 16, 2016. Munster head coach Anthony Foley has died at the team hotel in Paris before their European Champions Cup tie against Racing 92, the Irish club have announced. See PA story RUGBYU Foley. Photo credit should read Haydn West/PA Wire.

Munster captain Peter O'Mahony paid a tearful tribute to Anthony Foley after tournament organisers announced that the Irish province's European Champions Cup pool game against Glasgow will be played as scheduled in Limerick on Saturday.

Head coach Foley died at the Munster team hotel in Paris last weekend before the scheduled Champions Cup match against Racing 92, which was postponed as a result.

European Professional Club Rugby said the decision for Saturday's fixture to go ahead had been made "after close consultation with the Munster management."

Back row O'Mahony broke down as he tried to put into words what the late coach meant to him and the club.

"He was a man that wanted a Munster jersey win," he said.

"I'm not going to do him justice here. It's all the words I can say to be honest.

"The amount that we have lost now that he has gone is incredible - the rugby knowledge and brain, the man and the friend and coach and brother that we have lost. It's mad."

Foley's remains were flown back to Ireland on Wednesday and brought to the family home in Killaloe before reposing in St Flannan's during Thursday.

The 42-year-old's funeral will take place in County Clare on Friday.

In a statement, EPCR said: " EPCR can officially confirm that the Munster Rugby v Glasgow Warriors Champions Cup, Round 2 match will be played as scheduled at Thomond Park on Saturday (kick-off 1300).

"The decision was made after close consultation with the Munster management.

"At this particularly difficult time following the passing of Anthony Foley, EPCR would like to once again convey its deepest sympathies to the Foley family and to everyone at Munster Rugby.

"EPCR has requested that a minute's silence or a minute's applause in Anthony's memory be observed at all Round 2 matches in the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup."

A French coroner said on Tuesday that Foley died due to a heart condition which led to a build-up of fluid in his lungs.

Former back-row forward Foley played 62 times for Ireland, led Munster to their first European Cup victory in 2006 and was central to the province's repeat success two years later.

He scored 39 tries for his province and made 86 appearances in European competition before taking on backroom roles from 2009. He was named head coach in 2014.

Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, speaking at a Munster press conference on Wednesday afternoon, was asked about the decision to play the match and the planned tribute for Foley.

He said: "We don't want to miss this opportunity for him.

"It's a tough choice. It's not easy either way but we don't want to miss this opportunity.

"Although an Irish and Munster rugby hero and a great friend of ours, this time it's about a husband, father, son and brother and a fallen friend. Let us not forget that.

"He would never want us to say that the game is secondary, it's just not the man he was, but it will be."

Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend first came across Foley when they faced each other as schoolboys.

"It has been a tough week for world rugby," said the former Scotland player.

"You saw the reaction from all over the world, not just in rugby but in sport."

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