Enduring legacy of Anthony Foley behind Munster's recent success, says O'Mahony

Munster return to Paris this weekend where they learned of the tragic death of the club legend

Peter O'Mahony

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne 

Peter O'Mahony says that this weekend's trip to Racing 92 will hold extra significance as they return to Paris where less than three months ago they learned of the tragic death of Anthony Foley.

The Irish province were in France to take on Racing, when on the morning of the game the Anthony Foley was discovered dead in his hotel room. The tragedy swept through the team and through Irish rugby as a whole. Tributes came from every province to remember a pillar of Irish sport.

Speaking ahead of their Champions Cup clash on Saturday, O'Mahony says that paying tribute to Foley has been a staple of their performances since October.

"I don't think it's in the back of our minds every week, it's in the forefront over the last two or three months," he told reporters. "Every week we think about him and every day. It won't be any different this week.

"All the things Axel brought into his coaching resumé is stamped all over what we're doing at the moment. We talk about him every week in most meetings. That won't change this week."

They face a Racing side who have come off the back of defeat to Toulon on New Year's Day.

"They're a hugely physical side and they've got some quality in their ranks. Given their standings in both competitions I think they'll put in a huge performance over the weekend. 

"We're preparing for the best team that they can put out and we're prepared for a big performance as well. You don't have to look too hard to see that they're a very proud team. They might not be in contention but they're hugely proud at home."

Ian Keatley was on top form to help Munster overcome Connacht at the Sportsground last weekend. O'Mahony was complimentary of his efforts. Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer  

Munster, for their part, have picked up back-to-back wins over Irish provinces in recent week's, the latest of which came against PRO12 champions Connacht at the Sportsgrounds.

Their victory over old rivals Leinster, he says, was one of the toughest of the championship campaign thus far.

"It was incredibly physical. I think it was the most physical and fastest game we've played all year. It was good for us to come out on top. For the table as well, it was good for us to get the five points. 

"It was a great performance last week as well, to get a win away from home [against Connacht] in really tough conditions. It's been a good two week's for us."

Of their position as PRO12 table-toppers, O'Mahony said: "Yeah it's a nice place to be but it probably goes to the back of the thought process for the next three weeks certainly. With Racing coming up, we're fairly focused on going to Paris."