Páidí Ó Sé, one of the true legends of Gaelic football, who died suddenly from a suspected heart attack at his home in Ventry, was remembered with deep warmth and affection yesterday.
The Kerry legend, one of the most decorated footballers in the history of the GAA won eight all-Ireland senior titles as a player, two more as a manager of his native Kerry and a Leinster title as manager of Westmeath.
The 57-year-old publican was found dead in bed by family members yesterday morning at about 10am.
As tributes poured in yesterday, Ó Sé, whose provocative Gaelic football column in the Sunday Independent was a "must read" on championship Sundays, was remembered as a "warrior" by teammate and friend Pat Spillane, while Mick O'Dwyer, who made Ó Sé the lynchpin of his Kerry team of stars recalled him as a "marvellous all-rounder".
Micko said that Páidí was well ahead of his time as a player. "At that time, defenders defended and forwards attacked, but Páidí turned that on its head. He was a fierce competitor and not many got passed him. What set him apart though was his ability to turn defence into attack."
There were tributes, too, from his great rivals on the Dublin football team of the '70s whose battles with Kerry in Croke Park were legendary. "People said he was a hard man and he was," said David Hickey. "He was an immense talent. Kerry produces a lot of characters but they will never produce another Páidí."
Páidí's great friend Sean Boylan said he was devastated to hear the news. "He was an extraordinary man," he said. "There was not an ounce of malice in him. Apart from being an icon of the game, you could not come across a more loyal or truer friend."
Páidí is survived by his wife Máire, his daughters Neasa and Siún and his son Pádraig Óg. He is also survived by his brother Tom. An older brother Micheál, father of Kerry footballers Darragh, Tomás and Marc died 10 years ago.
He will also be sadly missed by all in the Sunday Independent.