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Foley Puts Nostalgia To One Side As Focus Turns To Europe

Foley Puts Nostalgia To One Side As Focus Turns To Europe

Despite the result, Anthony Foley was afforded a fitting send-off at Musgrave Park on Saturday evening as he captain Munster and scored a try before being called ashore to tumultuous applause from almost everyone in the ground.

Munster finished off their Magners League campaign with a frustrating 21-18 loss to Glasgow Warriors in Cork – not the ideal preparation they were hoping for ahead of their Heineken Cup final clash with Toulouse on May 24.

Two early tries from Lome Fa’atau and Dougie Hall and a controversial second half effort from Thom Evans guided the Scots to victory, despite Munster’s two most recent captains, Anthony Foley and Paul O’Connell, getting over for tries.

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Foley, who was making 201st and possibly last appearance for Munster, acknowledged that it was ‘a nostalgic night’ for him but he was more concerned about looking ahead to the Toulouse match and his side’s preparations. 

“It was a nostalgic night and a tough couple of days for me. But you manage to get your head around it,” Foley said afterwards.

“You move on and we have a Heineken Cup final to prepare for and our focus will be on that and nothing else matters aside from that 80 minutes.

“Deccie (Declan Kidney) has his own decisions to make and whether I’m in the 22 or not, I’ll accept my fate. It’s a case of getting the best 22 out there and making sure we can beat Toulouse.”

If Foley does gain a place in the province’s squad for the final, it would be a fitting way for the 34-year-old to bow out. However, he knows Munster will need to step up their performance levels and their all-round urgency as a similar display to the one they put in against Glasgow will see them lose out in Cardiff.

“When it’s put up to us, we react. But we’e got to get away from that and put pressure on teams and start building a score-line,” the former Ireland back rower warned.

“For the past couple of weeks, we seem to have been reacting to what’s going on. At times, I think we’re trying to play too much.

“Maybe we need to be putting it behind the opposition and putting them under pressure to get out of their own half and not keeping the onus on ourselves to keep playing ball in our own half and not making stupid mistakes, myself included,” Foley added, referring to a lineout error between himself and Ian Dowling which led to Hall’s try.

“That’s just giving away soft tries. We did that against Ulster last week and we can’t keep doing that and hope to win games. Giving teams a 14-point start without them having to work for it is very disappointing.”

To listen to Anthony Foley’s post-match interview in full, please click here.