Former Munster player and current coach Jerry Flannery has revealed how difficult things were in the Munster camp in the period leading up to the death of Anthony Foley.

In October 2016, the former Irish International and Munster captain passed away in the team hotel in Paris, on the morning of Munster’s scheduled Champions Cup clash against Racing 92.

The 42-year-old died in his sleep due to a heart rhythm problem.

In the previous two seasons, Munster had gone through a lull in form and there was intense pressure on the team, the back-room staff and, in particular, Foley.

Speaking in a documentary about the 62-cap international which will air Monday on RTÉ One at 9.35pm, his team-mate and coaching colleague Flannery said: "We all love Munster. It wasn’t just a job for us, and we were trying our best at it. It was a vicious circle, the more we tried the worse it got.

"It was as if this special thing that gave us all these opportunities and gave us all these great memories, I felt like it was dying and we couldn’t help it. We were miserable, absolutely miserable, it was torture."

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Munster reached the final of the Pro12 in Foley’s first year as manager but the team lacked consistency and failed to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup in two successive seasons.

Foley was under a lot of pressure during that time and was heavily scrutinised by fans and the media, even receiving harsh letters of criticism. 

"You can take it from your own but it’s very difficult then if your wife, or as started happening his sons, start to read things," explained Rosie Foley.

"And these are not nice things being said about their father, that is difficult. Maybe at times during that difficult period he might not have loved rugby as much as he would have."

So intense was the pressure and scrutiny that Foley offered to leave his post as Munster manager.

"He was more conscious than anyone that he wanted to do what was best for Munster and I would say on at least two occasions he said to us 'if you think the best thing for me to do is step down I’ll do it'," admitted Garrett Fitzgerald, CEO of Munster Rugby.

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At the beginning of the 2016 season, South African Rassie Erasmus was appointed Director of Rugby with responsibility for team selection at Munster. This eased the pressure on Foley and allowed him to focus on the day-to-day coaching that he loved.

"The day that Rassie came in as Director of Rugby was the day that Anthony really started smiling again," said former Munster and Ireland team-mate Keith Wood.

The documentary 'Anthony Foley: Munsterman' tells a story of Munster rugby through the life of Anthony Foley and shows the emotional effect his passing had on those around him. It features intimate contributions from his friends, family, teammates and colleagues. It will air on Monday, October 16, at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.