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Rugby stars make up guard of honour for Anthony Foley funeral

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PA

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Among the mourners were former Irish and Munster stars Paul O’Connell, Shane Byrne and Ronan O’Gara along with ex-Ireland teammate Brian O’Driscoll.

The funeral of former Munster head coach Anthony Foley has taken place in County Clare.

Foley, 42, died in Paris after a heart condition caused fluid to build up in his lungs.

He was found in his hotel room where Munster were staying before Sunday’s European Champions Cup game against Racing 92.

On Friday, his coffin was carried into St Flannan’s Church in his hometown of Killaloe.

Players from the province, past and present, formed a guard of honour.

Among them were former Irish and Munster stars Paul O’Connell, Ronan O’Gara and Peter Stringer, along with ex-Ireland teammate Brian O’Driscoll.

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His coffin was carried into St Flannan’s Church in his hometown of Killaloe.

‘Great dignity’

Hundreds of other mourners packed into the church and surrounding streets.

Foley is survived by his widow Olive and sons Tony and Dan.

Fr Pat Malone led the homily. He said: “It is fitting that we celebrate with dignity the life and achievements of a man who lived life with great dignity and personal and professional integrity.”

Addressing Foley’s widow, Olive, Fr Malone said: “You were his true love, and how good you were together.

“One could sense the strength of your relationship, the warmth of your love for each other, and the ways you supported each other through the easy as well as the difficult moments of life.

‘Never walk alone’

“You complimented each other so well, yin and yang in perfect valve with each other.”

He said Foley’s presence was reassuring to those who knew him, and said “in Anthony’s presence you knew you’d never walk alone”.

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.

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Foley died in the Paris hotel where Munster were staying prior to Sunday’s scheduled game against Racing 92

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-37721884