KILLALOE’S Anthony Foley was remembered by his former rugby teammate Shane Byrne on the latest episode of Dancing With the Stars.

Sunday’s episode of the popular RTÉ series was dubbed ‘dedication week’ with contestants dancing in honour of people special to their lives in some personal way.

Former Irish hooker, Shane Byrne used the opportunity to pay an emotional tribute to Anthony ‘Axel’ Foley. The pair lined out beside each other for their country for a number of years including the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia where Ireland reached the quarter-finals before bowing out to France.


Indeed, they both retired from international rugby in 2005, Byrne earning his first cap in 2001 against Romania with increasing appearances following the retirement of another Killaloe man, Keith Wood. Axel made 62 appearances for Ireland from 1995 until 2005.

At the age of 42, Anthony was found dead at a Paris hotel with the Munster squad as they were preparing to face Racing 92 in its opening game of the 2016–17 European Rugby Champions Cup, it was later revealed that heart disease had caused an acute pulmonary edema.

Shane dancing alongside Karen Byrne received a score of 23 for his Viennese Waltz set to Queen’s ‘We Are the Champions’.

Speaking about his late teammate, Shane reflected, “Anthony was one of those that you could build a team on the back of. An amazing athlete, very very gifted, a man of few words and those words were probably spoken softly – that’s the rugby side. But then afterwards he was a far deeper man than that. A very, very caring family man. While remembering Anthony brings up pain, we don’t want it all to be pain we want to also celebrate all that he stood for”.

Among those supporting Shane in the audience were Anthony’s wife Olive and two sons, Tony and Dan.

After completing his dance, Shane wiped away tears after catching the eye of the Foley family.

Judge Loraine Barry praised Shane for his “beautiful tribute,” while Brian Redmond said he had no doubt Axel would be proud of him tonight.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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