'You will always be my hero' - Jerry Flannery on the late Anthony Foley
As tributes go, they don't get an awful lot better than this.
Former Munster and Ireland player Jerry Flannery has paid his tribute to the late, and so sadly missed, Anthony Foley.
St.Munchins, Shannon RFC, Munster and Ireland. I am heartbroken. You were everything I ever wanted to be and you will always be my hero. RIP pic.twitter.com/XLme6JTms6
— Jerry Flannery (@jerryflannery) October 19, 2016
The pair were very close team-mates and friends, and Flannery recently recounted the influence that Foley had on the people around him and what made him such a great leader of men.
He points to the 2006 Heineken Cup semi-final as a great example of Foley's qualities.
"You hear people saying it", Flannery said. "But when Axel was talking you’d listen to him. The Leinster game was probably the big one for me, I remember his talk in the game before we played Leinster in the Heineken cup semi final. That’s probably the best I’ve heard someone speak before a game. It sort of set the mood for the day.
"I suppose we were underdogs going into it, with all the talk about Leinster and there was a lot of hype in the media and everything. But it was like Axel pulled us all in before the game and said, 'today’s the day where you just focus,' - and I distinctly remember him looking up at us and saying, 'today is a day for men.'
"That was it, it just sat the tone for the day and I remember Axel’s face in the tunnel coming out onto the field. He just embodied the way we wanted to be coming onto the field, he was just cold and played with a lot of pride and bittterness, I’ve heard him say that before, and it was just something I tried to take in."