Ireland's ‘historic' victory over All Blacks dedicated to Munster's Anthony Foley
THE family of Anthony Foley have revealed their emotion after the Ireland team dedicated their historic win over the All Blacks to the late rugby star.
It was a victory 111 years in the making and will live long in the memory of the more than 62,000 supporters there in Chicago to witness it.
Five-try Ireland triumphed 42-29 to beat New Zealand at the 29th time of asking at a crammed Soldier Field Stadium.
The victory was made all the more emotional coming in the first full international since the sudden passing of former Irish international Foley.
Aged just 42, 'Axel' Foley died last month in a Paris hotel while on duty with the Munster squad he coached.
The Ireland squad formed a figure of eight in memory of his playing number as they faced the Kiwis' traditional Haka ahead of Saturday's match.
In a statement on a Facebook page set up in memory of Foley, his family said: "To say that we were touched by how Ireland faced the New Zealand Haka, drawing inspiration from the No 8, would be an understatement.
"Ironically, 15 years ago Anthony played for Ireland against and lost to New Zealand on a score of......40-29.
"Last night's Irish response to the Haka was incredible remembrance."
After the game, Irish captain Rory Best said: "It just felt like the right thing to do and it was our way, as an Irish national team, just to show a mark of respect to Axel and his family."
The Ulster star, who made his 98th international appearance to became the joint most capped Irish player, called the win "historic".
"It's been a long time coming and history has been made," he said.
Saturday's heroics finally emulate Munster's famous victory over New Zealand in 1978 in which Anthony Foley's father played on the winning side.
The All Blacks won't have long to wait to exact revenge, with the two sides due to meet again at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on November 19.
Stormont Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, who is in America, took to Twitter to describe the result as "brilliant".
"Followed the Ireland v New Zealand game here in Texas. Thrilled with our historic victory over the World Champions in Chicago," he said.
Government partner Arlene Foster said: "What a result!? Well done to our very own @RoryBest2 for leading Ireland to their first victory over the All Blacks in 111yrs!"
One Direction singer Niall Horan wrote: "Cannot believe that just happened... congratulations Ireland. What a performance! Been a long time coming."