Kerry Gaelic football legend Paidi O Se was found dead this morning at his home in Ventry, Co. Kerry. He was 57 years old, and early reports indicate that he may have died of a heart attack.
O Se’s illustrious football career saw him win eight All-Ireland medals. Born in Ventry, Co. Kerry, he was a member of the Kerry senior team from 1975 until 1987, anchoring the team’s defense.
O Se retired in 1987, after a Munster final defeat to Cork, but returned to the game eight years later as manager of the Kerry team. He led the team to two All-Ireland medals and six Munster crowns, but was fired in 2003 after being trounced by Tyrone.
His managerial career continued with stints at Westmeath and Clare, but he was unable to replicate the success he had with Kerry.
In addition to his on the field career with the Kerry football team, O Se will also be remembered for an interview he gave to the Irish Independent in which he called Kerry fans “the roughest kind of f***ing animals you could deal with.” The uproar over the comments forced O Se to issue an apology.
Years later, during an interview with the Sunday World, he reflected on the controversial interview.
"It was a bad day for me. A black day. I was drunk and I was stupid when I made those comments... Of course I regret it," he said.
O Se was a native Irish speaker, and owned a pub in Ventry that bore his name. The popular pub was visited by Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in 1991 when they were in west Kerry filming Far and Away; other famous visitors included Martin Sheen and Dolly Parton.
O Se is survived by his wife Maire, a schoolteacher, and their three children.