Saturday 22 November 2014

Paidi had few equals – on and off the pitch

Published 17/12/2012 | 17:00

Only superlatives can describe Paidi O Se and the team he played for.

Kerry's Gaelic football team of the 1970s and 1980s was probably the greatest of all time. The same is true of the manager, Mick O'Dwyer – though "Heffo's Army", celebrating the Dublin-Kerry rivalry that added so much spice and excitement to the sporting scene of the era, might disagree.

Blazing stars glowed on every part of the field. And O Se, winner of eight All-Ireland medals, was probably the greatest of all defenders, and the most colourful – during his career and after his retirement.

Few in any sport could equal his toughness and dedication. He could have adopted "they shall not pass" as his motto. He did not hesitate to put himself at risk of injury and pain.

Yet this rock-like figure was a great ambassador for the GAA's tradition of amateurism and passion.

When his playing career ended, he went on to manage Kerry, Clare and Westmeath. His pub in Ventry became a magnet for international celebrities. His sudden death at the age of 57 has snuffed out a light that made this country a little brighter.

Thank you, Paidi, on behalf of us all.

Irish Independent

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