Anthony Foley: Rugby stars among throngs paying respects to late Munster legend

Keith Wood is embraced as Ireland coach Joe Schmidt (right) and former Ireland team manager Michael Kearney arrive at St Flannan's Church in Killaloe
Keith Wood and Joe Schmidt were among those paying their respects as Anthony Foley's body was brought to his hometown church on Thursday

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt and team captain Rory Best were among thousands who joined Anthony Foley's grieving family as his body was brought to his hometown church on Thursday.

Queues formed at St Flannan's Church in Killaloe as people paid their respects to the Munster and Ireland great, who died suddenly in Paris at the weekend.

His widow Olive and two young sons Tony and Dan, both wearing Munster jerseys, were supported by his father Brendan, himself a former Ireland international, amid emotional scenes in county Clare.

Foley's coffin, draped in a Munster flag, arrived just before 1300 BST to lie in repose throughout the afternoon and early evening prior to spending a final night in the family home ahead of Friday's funeral.

Media playback is not supported on this device

People line streets in tribute to Foley outside Munster's Thomond Park

Former Munster, Ireland and British & Irish Lions star Keith Wood, a close friend of Foley, was among the first to queue outside the church on Thursday morning in the small town on the River Shannon.

Leinster, Ireland and Lions talisman Johnny Sexton was present along with a number of his provincial team-mates and coach Leo Cullen while Connacht head coach Pat Lam was also there.

Foley's family issued a statement to urge people to come to the church early, given the length of queues.

"The crowds attending today are as vast as we could have anticipated," it stated.

Foley, 42, died from a build-up of fluid on his lungs as a result of heart disease.

Media playback is not supported on this device

World of rugby pays tribute to Anthony Foley

Foley found dead in Paris hotel

He was found dead in his Paris hotel room on Sunday morning, hours before Munster's scheduled Champions Cup match against Racing 92.

Munster's European opener was postponed but Saturday's Champions Cup game against Glasgow will go ahead as a tribute to Foley, who rose to the position of head coach after his successful playing career with the Irish province.

Foley represented the Irish province on 201 occasions and captained them to their first European Cup triumph in 2006 before helping them regain the trophy two years later.

The number eight also won 62 Ireland caps and skippered his country on three occasions.

Top Stories