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Even in death Páidí a force of nature thanks to his festival

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Even in death Páidí ó Sé is a force of nature

Even in death Páidí ó Sé is a force of nature

Even in death Páidí ó Sé is a force of nature

The great and the good of Irish sport were gathered again last night to help launch the 25th Comortas Peile Páidí ó Sé.

Even in death, Páidí is a force of nature. His tournament began with just four teams and a few pints back in the late '80s. Now it's a cultural festival delivering thousands of people to Ventry, Dingle and the peninsula in general in the early spring when the tourist trail would otherwise be cool.

Some of the English clubs involved tell stories of Páidí showing up on their doorstep to convince them to come to Kerry. Who could possibly say no?

Some come for the crack in the bar on the Friday and Saturday night seeking a Gael with similar motives for fun or something longer; others come with their serious heads on to get their season kick-started with a few hardcore games against other serious teams.

I'll never forget the sight of the shivering St Oliver Plunkett's team doing their ice-bath session in the Atlantic Ocean on their way to last year's final – a warrior dedication to the cause by the Jackeens that might have impressed even Páidí.

There's over 1,300 footballers expected this year and it'll pass almost unnoticed by the world beyond this beautiful pocket of west Kerry.

For anyone who makes the journey and strolls around the bar it's a journey back in time, hours lost in a photographic archive of a remarkable life.

In short it's a brilliant weekend.

May the sun shine and the football pay testimony to the legend. Here's to another 25 years.

Irish Independent