independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Formidable foe on the field who amassed eight All-Ireland golds

PAIDI O Se was a larger than life character. A footballer, publican, media personality, husband and father of three, who died after suffering a suspected heart attack.

Born in 1955 in the heart of the Kerry Gaeltacht in Ventry, the native Irish speaker won eight all-Irelands as a GAA player and two more as Kerry county manager, while also guiding Westmeath to a Leinster title.

Educated at Cill Mhic a Domhnaigh national school, he went on to attend Dingle CBS and St Brendan's College in Killarney, from which he was expelled after being caught drinking. He sat his Leaving Certificate at St Michael's in Listowel before joining An Garda Siochana.

He served four years, stationed in Limerick, taking the time to play rugby for Young Munster for a year. He then took a lease on Kruger Kavanagh's pub in Dunquin, before buying his own pub in Ventry. Charles Haughey arrived by helicopter to take part in the opening.

He married Maire Fahy, a schoolteacher, in 1984, and the couple had three children – Neasa, Suin and Padraig Og.

He described his family as "my ever present support team and the inspiration for much of what I have achieved in my life".

O Se was considered one of The Kingdom's greatest players, lining out at right half back. He also served as the Kerry, Clare and Westmeath manager.

Former Kerry footballer Dara O Cinneide said: "They say Paidi O Se broke the mould. There was no mould. He was an exception to every rule.''

In recent years he was a columnist with the 'Sunday Independent'.

The walls of his pub on the Dingle peninsula were hung with portraits of people who visited over the years. They included former Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen, US President Bill Clinton, actors Tom Cruise and Martin Sheen and singer Dolly Parton.

In 2003, his tenure as Kerry manager was dogged by controversy after he described Kerry supporters as "the roughest type of f**king animals you could ever deal with". He admitted afterwards he had been drunk and upset and his words had been ill-chosen. He went on to lead the county through another season but when Kerry lost out to Tyrone, he was forced out. The following season, he brought Westmeath to its only Leinster senior football title.

Paidi is suspected to have suffered a heart attack and died suddenly at his home in Ard a Bhothair on Saturday morning.

A family friend said he complained of feeling unwell when he got up and returned to bed, where he died a short time later.

His wife Maire discovered him when she went to check to see he was all right.

The Requiem Mass for Paidi O Se will be celebrated at the local Ventry church tomorrow at noon, followed by burial at Reilig Caitliona.

Irish Independent

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