Tuesday 12 December 2017

FAI chief has fond memories of born raconteur

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

WHENEVER the paths of FAI CEO John Delaney and Páidí ó Sé crossed, they'd toast the 'Spanish students'.

Delaney ran a bakery in Kerry for a number of years and, annually, Páidí's mother, Beatrice, would get in touch.

"She'd ring and say, 'John, you can't send the Spanish students home hungry, send up a few buns'," Delaney recalled.

"So I did. And I told Páidí the story one day and he informed me that he had never seen a Spanish student around the place at all. We'd always have a good laugh about that."

Páidí was a welcoming host when the FAI held their AGM in Kerry and they spent a night in Ventry.

"He was the perfect host. We were down there with Don Givens, Packie Bonner and Steve Staunton and a few others. He entertained us all night, he was full of stories and he told them so well.

"When I was in Kerry, I'd try and get across to visit him. It was a privilege to get to meet a man like that and get to know him. I'm 45, so I would have grown up with that Kerry team when they were winning all before them.

"That team was full of heroes and Páidí was the top of the list," Delaney said.

"We'd be in touch at various times since then. Sometimes we'd meet randomly and sometimes he'd ring me up.

"He used to like to get his hands on a few tickets for Manchester United and I'd try and help him with that.

"Everywhere he went people knew him. And it extended far beyond the realms of just sport, he was warmly received wherever he went.

"The last time I heard from him was when he left me a note before the Euros, which he didn't have to do. He just wished us luck," added the FAI boss. "It was a nice touch from a nice man who'll be sorely missed."

Irish Independent

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