Festival will do Paidi proud, says family of GAA legend
IT HAS been a tough month for the family of Paidi O Se but they have been getting behind a football festival in his name "to make him proud".
His daughter Neasa said Christmas had been hard for the family but they were getting through it by supporting each other.
"Dad had been organising the tournament for so many years and was so proud of this place. It was more important than ever this year because we're honouring him.
"It's just for him now to make him proud," she told the Irish Independent.
The GAA legend and eight-time All-Ireland medal winner died suddenly on December 15 of a suspected heart attack at his home in Ard a' Bhothair in Ventry, Co Kerry. He was 57.
He is survived by his wife, Maire and three children, Neasa, Siun and Padraig Og.
Now his family is focusing their attention on the 24th Paidi O Se Football Weekend that will be launched by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Burlington Hotel on February 5.
Former Taoiseach and close friend, Brian Cowen, addressed the congregation at Seipeal Naomh Caitlin in Ventry, following his month's mind Mass on Saturday night.
A total of 48 football teams, including 14 from abroad, have signed up for this year's festival, which will take place in west Kerry from February 22 to 24 – the biggest festival to date.
Mr Cowen said this year's festival would be a commemoration of Paidi himself.
"The sad reality is that this year, the local coiste (committee) set about their annual tasks without the taskmaster himself in the middle of the ring quietly pushing out the boundaries of ambition for the project.
"We hope he'll be there in another way. This is now a commemoration of him too," he said.
Although he died suddenly, Paidi had already completed a lot of the groundwork in the organisation of the football weekend.
Teams from around Ireland will take part in the football weekend and, for the first time, it will have an international flavour with visiting teams from Paris, Brussels, London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Munich, Reading and Watford.