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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

Anthony Foley’s son’s social media appeal

A new Facebook appeal in memory of Munster and Ireland rugby legend Anthony Foley has been launched by his 11 year-old son.

Last Saturday, Tony joined his brother, Dan (8) with Munster players in the middle of the pitch at full-time for a poignantly charged rendition of the Munster anthem ‘Stand Up and Fight’ in Thomond Park.

 The sons of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley, Tony, left, and Dan, with CJ Stander, Photograph by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
The sons of the late Munster Rugby head coach Anthony Foley, Tony, left, and Dan, with CJ Stander, Photograph by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

It proved to be a very emotional moment, as over 25,000 in the packed stadium united to remember Munster Head coach, Anthony “Axel” Foley, who died suddenly in Paris the previous Sunday.

His untimely passing has prompted an unprecedented outpouring of grief as Munster and rugby fans throughout the world struggle to come to terms with the loss of the 2006 Heineken Cup winning captain at the age of 42.

Now, Tony (11) has set up a new Facebook site – Axel Foley Memorial, which is gaining huge traction on line since it was launched shortly after midday on Monday.
At the time of writing, the post by the family received over 1,573 shares and over 2,6,00 ‘likes’.

President Michael D Higgins at Saturday's big game. Photograph by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
President Michael D Higgins at Saturday’s big game. Photograph by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

In the campaign – #8masses4no8 – Tony is asking people to go to Mass for the next eight Sundays, starting this coming Sunday, which his father’s birthday. Anthony would have been 43.

The page explained that Tony and his family have been overwhelmed by the support they have received since his dad Anthony ‘Axel’ Foley passed away.

“Tony has been busy thinking of a tribute to his Dad and has asked that this page be set up in his memory. He wants to use it to ask people, who want to show their support, to attend Mass on each of the next eight Sundays to pray for people who have died and while there to offer a prayer for his Dad also.”
It goes on: “The Number 8 is, of course, a special number for Tony and his family but the 8 Sundays also bring us up to that special family time of year, Christmas.”

A family spokesperson confirmed it was her Tony’s idea and he thought it up on Saturday night last, after returning from Thomond Park.

“He came up with it on Saturday and did up a presentation that he showed to the family. We loved it! Thanks everyone for all the support over recent days, it means so much,” the spokesperson added.

The page outlined Tony even created the hash-tag, edited the image for the page to include the hashtag and launched it today.

“It’s getting a great response and he’s delighted. It’s a really positive way of dealing with what has happened and the more people that support it the better.
“The eight Sundays will take us right up to Christmas, which is a special family time, of course, but can be very difficult for families who have lost loved ones. The support for the campaign over the coming weeks will certainly be a positive for the family at an otherwise very difficult time.”

Tony asked social media users to like and share this post and tag eight Facebook friends to go to Mass over the next eight Sundays and, at that Mass, light a candle for a loved one or, indeed, for Anthony, take a photo of that lit candle and post it to this page using #8masses4no8

The page stated by joining this campaign people will bring “additional comfort to this mighty young man and his family at this time”.

Dan Danaher

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