"He offered people hope when they felt hopeless": Killaloe pays tribute to its favourite son

Anthony Foley's funeral mass takes place on Friday in his hometown

The funeral of Anthony Foley took place on Friday in Killaloe, where a touching homily was delivered by Father Pat Malone. 

The rugby world came to a halt for the ceremony, with Joe Schmidt, Declan Kidney, Paul O'connell, Rory Best, and the Munster team in attendance, while leading figures from the political world, including Micheal Martin and Michael Noonan, also came to pay their respects.

Firstly speaking to the Munster legend's immediate family, Fr. Malone stated that it was "fitting that we celebrate with dignity the life and achievements of a man who lived life with great dignity and personal and professional integrity."

Image: Munster players attend the funeral of Anthony Foley. Sean Defoe

Noting that there have been a number of beautiful tributes to the life of Anthony Foley in recent days, he added that he has been privileged to call the Foley family his neighbours and that: "My first, and I believe my lasting memory of Anthony, is and will be of a family man."

"What touched me most in all the statements I heard or read about Anthony in the past week, is the amount of care he offered to so, so many different people. He had that great human capacity to sense or notice those who were struggling in one way or another, and the ability to reach out to them and include them in a sensitive and caring way.

"That outreach made all the difference to these people. He offered people hope when they felt hopeless, confidence when they were deflated, and simply wished them on when they were unable to do it themselves."

Image: Anthony Foley's hometown in mourning. Sean Defoe

In closing, Fr. Malone stated that: "Anthony 'Axel' Foley made many a mark in his 42 short years of life. Just look around and see; the indelible, warm, affirming marks he left on his family, friends, colleagues, sports fans, this lcoal community, rugby where it is spoken of - to name but a few."

Addressing the Foley family, he said "may the benchmark of his love be the ray of light that dispels the darkness," and added that he was being commended to the care of God, who "I am fairly certain could do with a top class number 8."