Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h’anam (pronounced: Err yass Day guh rev ah ann-am) is a Gaelic blessing which means: May his soul be at the right hand of God.
Yesterday, Munster team head coach, Anthony Foley died suddenly at their team hotel in Paris. Foley, 42, died overnight at the hotel and in his sleep, where the team were staying prior to Sunday’s game against Racing 92, according to the BBC.
The European Champions Cup game was postponed following the sad news of the former Ireland international’s death. A statement by the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) said: “The IRFU and Munster Rugby pass on our deepest sympathy to all of Anthony’s family and friends.” Along with “We ask for privacy for the family at this sad time.” Foley is survived by his wife, Olive and their two children.
Foley, whose father Brendan also played for Ireland, made 201 appearances in the back row for Munster in a playing career that spanned 13 years. He made his debut in 1995 against Swansea’s in the province’s first match in the Heineken cup. Later, he would captain Ireland 3 times in winning 62 caps, having made a try-scoring debut in the Five Nations defeat by England in January 1995, according to the BBC.
Replaced as Munster captain by Paul O’Connell for the 2007-8 season, at the end of which, he announced his retirement and joined their coaching staff. Initally, Foely took over as Munster forwards coach in 2011 (a role he briefly undertook with Ireland during the 2012 Six nations, before moving to head coach in 2014, after the departure of Rob Penney).
Foley made his debut for Ireland against England in the 1995 Five Nations Championship on 21 January 1995. He scored a try on his debut in an 8-20 defeat. He went to the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. He missed the 1999 Rugby World Cup, but was selected for the 2003 Rugby World Cup, featuring in 2 of the pool games against Romania and Australia.
Foley’s family released the following statement: “Our anguish at the sudden loss of Anthony is bottomless.” They also added:”We wish to thank everyone for their support. It will help carry us through these darkest days… with Anthony’s passing, we have ultimately lost an amazing, adoring and loving father and husband; an equally caring, loyal and devoted son and brother; a central and go-to figure for the wider Foley and Hogan families.”
Hundreds of people have signed books of condolence at Munster’s Thomond Park ground in Limerick and other venues.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h’anam