Paidi's club plays on despite latest tragic death
Published 25/02/2013 | 04:00
PAIDI O Se's home club An Ghaeltacht did him proud.
Reeling from the tragedy of the sudden death of another much-loved club man on Saturday morning, the Gaeltacht men played on and won their place in the senior men's final of the Paidi O Se International Football Festival against Dublin side St Oliver Plunkett's.
But a Dublin side that included Ross McConnell, Paul Brogan and Jason Sherlock proved too strong for the west Kerry men, beating them 5-17 to 2-7 to win the Dermot Earley Cup.
A dark shadow was cast over the 24th football festival at the weekend when news broke of the tragic death of Tomas O Conchuir (35), from Ballycurrane, Ballydavid.
The club was thrown into disarray and a decision had to be made if it would pull out of the competition all together.
In the end, with the blessing of Mr O Conchuir's family, they decided to play on to honour the memories of both Paidi and Tomas.
"It was always going to be a tough weekend anyway but it was the biggest tournament Paidi had ever organised and we were just going to make sure it all ran well," Paidi's nephew and vice-chairman of An Ghaeltacht, Kerry footballer Marc O Se, told the Irish Independent.
"It was a very hard blow for the club on Saturday morning. Tom was a great footballer and a larger-than-life character who'll be sadly missed and our thoughts are with his wife Ciara and his family."
Mr O Conchuir played for An Ghaeltacht alongside his brothers, Sean, Paidi and Mickey, until his retirement recently. He was also the manager of its minor team.
"Our manager spoke to Tom's family and it was their wish that An Gaeltacht played the game today. It's very sad and it certainly has overshadowed the whole weekend for us and we're thinking of the family very much," the Kerry player said.
A total of 48 teams from seven countries competed in this year s festival, the biggest ever.
The sudden death of the Kerry GAA legend at his home in Ard a Bhothair in Ventry on December 15 last shocked the country and his absence was felt all the more this weekend when he would have been in his element.
Among those attending the festival was one of his closest friends, former Taoiseach Brian Cowen.
Former Ireland rugby international and Kerry Gaelic footballer Mick Galwey opened a photography exhibition from the MacMonagle archive capturing some of the pivotal moments of Paidi's career over four decades.
There was also an exhibition of photographs from the archives of the 'Limerick Chronicle' and the 'Limerick Leader'.