The Munster squad and management will convene again in their High Performance Centre at UL on Wednesday before confirming whether they intend to go ahead with Saturday’s Champions Cup encounter with Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park. This followed confirmation from Anthony Foley’s family that the funeral of Munster’s iconic former player and coach will take place on Friday.
The Munster squad regrouped at their UL base on Tuesday for the first time since Foley’s sudden passing in Paris on Sunday morning, and the ensuing postponement of their opening Champions Cup game against Racing 92.
According to a statement from Munster earlier yesterday, they will do so again today in continuing “a modified training schedule this week” in planning for Saturday’s game, which has a 1pm kick-off. Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus and captain Peter O’Mahony will host a press conference at lunchtime which will now, most likely, confirm their intention to play Saturday’s scheduled game.
This follows confirmation on Tuesday evening of the funeral arrangements for Foley. His remains will be flown home on Wednesday to Shannon Airport, from where they will be brought to his family home (private) in Killaloe, Co Clare.
They will lie in repose at St Flannan’s Church, Killaloe from 1pm to 8.30pm sharp on Thursday evening. People intending on paying their respects to Anthony are asked to attend early. House afterwards is private.
Funeral Mass will take place at noon on Friday at St Flannan’s Church, with Church reserved for family and friends only. Burial afterwards will be at Relig Núa Cemetery, Killaloe.
Operating on a day-by-day basis, their thoughts remain first and foremost with the families of Foley and his wife Olive (nee Hogan). Hence, not only will the squad wish to pay their respects at the funeral, only in light of yesterday’s developments will they confirm their intention to play Glasgow. The tournament organisers, EPCR, have been liaising with Munster pending developments while affording them time to clarify their intentions.
That the game is at home also increases the chances of it going ahead. Not only would a European Cup game at Thomond Park be the most fitting way to commemorate Foley’s career, were it an away game, the attendant travelling would make fulfilling the fixture more problematic. Indeed, the Munster A team’s British & Irish Cup game away to Doncaster on Saturday has been postponed at Munster’s request.
Munster issued a statement yesterday which said: “The Munster squad gathered in the High Performance Centre at UL today in working and planning towards Saturday’s Champions Cup encounter with Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park.”
"The squad are following a modified schedule this week with players and management yesterday signing books of condolence at Thomond Park, Irish Independent Park and at other locations across the province in memory of their colleague and friend Anthony Foley. "
“The thoughts of Munster Rugby players, management and staff remain with the Foley and Hogan families and assisting them at this time continues to be the priority. Funeral arrangements are yet to be finalised, and details will follow once in place.”
"Following on from Sunday's initial statement Munster Rugby would like to additionally thank the following parties for their assistance on the day, the staff of the Novotel Suresnes Longchamp Hotel, the local police and emergency services in Paris, Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason and her staff at the Irish Embassy, Aer Lingus support staff at Charles de Gaulle Airport and Declan Keane and his team at the Dublin Airport Authority."
“At an extremely difficult time, Munster Rugby could not be more grateful for the consideration and compassion shown from the wider community in the past few days and it is most appreciated at this time.”
“Meanwhile, with the Munster A squad scheduled for an away British and Irish Cup fixture against Doncaster Knights on Saturday, the decision has been made to postpone the fixture with a rescheduled date to be announced in due course. Munster Rugby thank Doncaster Knights and the British and Irish Cup for their understanding and help at this time.”
The Munster A Head Coach Peter Malone said: "With the Munster A squad featuring a number of senior players, planning for an away fixture would not be suitable at this point in time. We thank Doncaster Knights and the B&I Cup for facilitating our request in light of the exceptional circumstances."