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Munster and Glasgow Warriors players observe a minutes silence in memory of the late Anthony Foley before the European Rugby Champions Cup match at Thomond Park. Photograph by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Global support for Axel memorial campaign

A MEMORIAL campaign for the late Munster head coach, Anthony ‘Axel’ Foley, has secured global support.

The Axel Foley Memorial appeal, #8masses4no8, which was set up by his son, Tony, has already secured almost 30,000 Facebook likes, 3,500 more than the capacity of Thomond Park.

The Foley family have been “overwhelmed” by messages of support from Killaloe, Limerick, all over the country, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, New Zealand and even missionaries in Africa and the Far East. Support has come from young and old, many of whom are not rugby fans.

Tony has highlighted one message from sixth-year students at Beneavin College in Finglas, which captures everything this campaign is about – remembering his father and others who have gone.

Last Saturday, Tony joined his eight-year-old brother, Dan and Munster players in the middle of Thomond Park at the end of the match for a charged rendition of the anthem Stand Up and Fight. More than 25,000 fans remained in the stadium to join in the tribute to 42-year-old Anthony, who died suddenly in Paris the previous Sunday.

In the appeal, #8masses4no8, Tony is asking people to go to mass for the next eight Sundays, starting this Sunday, which is his father’s birthday. On the page, the family stated people have outlined how Tony’s campaign has helped them to remember loved ones long since passed.

Tony, Dan, Olive and family are heartened by the response to the campaign.

The appeal page outlined that Tony came up with the idea for the campaign himself after returning from Thomond Park. Number 8 is, of course, a special number for Tony and his family.

“The family are overwhelmed by people committing to the campaign – to attend mass over the eight Sundays and/or light candles for their own loved ones. The page states by joining this campaign, people will bring ‘additional comfort to this mighty young man and his family at this time’.

“The family are particularly humbled by those who will be including Anthony in their prayers, as they remember their own loved ones who have passed. That is, indeed, a great privilege.We have been, again, so taken by all the tributes to Anthony,” the family stated.

The family are also seeking images of any candle when it is lit, as they want the page to “burn bright in memory of your loved ones, as well as Anthony”.

By Dan Danaher

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