Friday 15 December 2017

Páidí is, was and forever will be a Kerry football legend and an icon of Irish sport

Páidí Ó Sé has been credited with lifting Kerry out of the doldrums after their 1997 All-Ireland victory
Páidí Ó Sé has been credited with lifting Kerry out of the doldrums after their 1997 All-Ireland victory

WE'RE all caught up in our own space, living life in the fast lane and then all of a sudden something stops us in our tracks. That was the case for me, and I'm sure just about everybody else, on hearing the shocking and tragic news of Páidí ó Sé's premature passing on Saturday.

I got to know Páidí really well during his time as a garda based in Limerick. It was back in the 1970s when we were all in our playing pomp and, mainly through the Kerry contingent of fellow NCPE students Pat and Mick Spillane, Denis 'Ogie' Moran and Jimmy Deenihan, Páidí would come out and join us regularly in Plassey for training. My only gripe was that, unlike 'Ogie', who played with me in Garryowen, Páidí chose to take a slight detour and ended up a proud wearer of the black and amber of Young Munster during his time on Shannonside.

He was then what he will remain forever in our minds: that vibrant bundle of unbridled energy. I will leave it to others much better qualified than me to comment on his football achievements, but Páidí the man was the quintessential sports lover and, whenever I was in Ventry, the most welcoming of hosts.

The Kerry football legend was what we assumed the great Mossie Keane to be in his time on this earth ... indestructible.

But time stands still for no man. We know not the minute nor the hour, but what we do know for sure is that when in the company of Páidí, as with Moss, you were in the presence of greatness. Expect that to be the recurring theme as this irreplaceable icon is laid to rest in his beloved Ventry today.

Look no further than the wonderful gesture of the BBC in acknowledging his contribution to Gaelic games in its roll of honour for those recently deceased on the high-profile 'Sports Personality of the Year' programme on Sunday night. It is testament to the social, cultural and sporting impact of the definitive Kerry tiger way beyond these shores.

He was, is and always will be a Kerry football legend and Irish sporting icon. He will be missed dearly, and nowhere more than in the bosom of his loving family. To Máire, to Neasa, Siún and Pádraig óg, to Tomás and to the extended ó Sé family, we send our most sincere condolences. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

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