LEGENDARY status is not something that the people of Kerry bestow on their foot-balling greats very lightly. However, in the case of Páidí Ó Sé, who passed away unexpectedly on Saturday morning last, such recognition has been well earned.
Páidí, born in picturesque Ceann Trá on the Dingle peninsula, made his senior debut for Kerry in the 197374 National League and went on to become one of the most decorated players in the history of football winning a record equalling eight All Ireland medals before finally hanging up his boots in 1988. He played 53 Championship and 83 League games for Kerry.
The An Gaeltacht clubman first tasted All Ireland glory with Kerry with the Under 21 team of 1973 and went on to win two more titles at that level in 1975 and 1976. However, he quickly established himself as a player of note in the senior grade when Mick O'Dwyer's young side upset the odds by defeating Dublin to win the All Ireland title in 1975. He became a firm favourite with the Kerry supporters who delighted in his swashbuckling no nonsense style of play and his championship duels with the likes of Dinny Allen (Cork) and David Hickey (Dublin) copperfastened that relationship, which was to endure during his entire playing career.
Eight All Ireland medals, 11 Munster Championship titles, four National Football League medals and five All Star awards are testimony to the commitment he gave to his native Kerry on the football fields.
As player manager he led the West Kerry Divisional side to a Kerry senior county title in 1984 a feat that earned him the right to captain his native Kingdom and September 22, 1985 was indeed a proud day for the man from Árd a Bhóthair when he captained Kerry to their 29th All Ireland title. His famous speech as gaeilge on the steps of the Hogan Stand "A Mhuintir Chiarraí agus a chairde go léir. Tá áthas ó chroí orm ......." will live forever in Kerry football folklore.
Páidí's managerial career took off in 1995 when he managed the Kerry Under 21 side to All Ireland glory and after Ogie Moran's tenure came to an end, later that year he was appointed manager of the Kerry Senior team. Success soon followed with the capturing of the Sam Maguire in 1997, after an eleven year famine, endearing him to the Kerry football faithful once again. But he probably took more satisfaction from the All Ireland success in the millennium year following Titanic struggles with Armagh and Galway in a replayed semi final and final respectively.
Páidí's tenure as manager of Kerry came to an end after defeat to Tyrone in 2003, but he was soon once again involved in inter county managerial activity leading Westmeath to their first Leinster title in 2004. He later managed Clare in 2006.
The Chairman of Coiste Chontae Chiarraí, Mr Patrick O'Sullivan, led the tributes to Páidí on behalf of all GAA Gaels in Kerry and beyond, expressing his deep sympathy to Páidí's wife Máire, children Pádraig, Siún and Neasa, brother Tomás, nephews Feargal, Darragh, Tomás and Marc, his nieces and to the extended Ó Sé family on what was a sad occasion for family, friends, former playing colleagues and indeed the Kerry public at large. Ní bheidh leithéid Páidí arís ann. Tá súil againn go bhfuil sé chomh sásta sa tsíoraíocht agus a bhí sé sa Ríocht.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
White Collar Boxing AS part of a fundraising venture to train Kerry teams, Kerry GAA are staging a white collar boxing event in the INEC Killarney on Saturday, January 5 with current and past Kerry players both football and hurling, club players, referees and others taking part. Specialised boxing coaches are presently engaged in coaching the participants in the finer arts of the sport in Fitzgerald Stadium, Ballyduff Boxing Club and in Cork. Progress is being monitored closely to decide on the match-ups on the night. Bouts will be of three one and a half minute rounds.
Doors open at 7 P.M. and admission is by ticket only and the ticket options are as follows:
Reserved Ringside seating €25,
General Adult €20, Child €10 Family (2 adult + 2 children) €50.
Group option to purchase 10 tickets including one free.
Tickets will be on general sale from Kerry County Committee office in Austin Stack Park this week, Garveys Supervalu Stores countywide and in advance or on the night from the INEC Killarney. Tickets are also available from your local Club and all clubs that sell their tickets allocation will be entered into a draw for the following prizes:
1st Prize; A set of adult jerseys, 2nd Prize; Club affiliation fee worth €600 paid 3rd Prize; Weekend for 2 at a Moran/Bewleys Hotel.