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Paidi O Se Photo by: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Tributes pour in for Kerry legend Paidi O Se

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Paidi O Se Photo by: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

The Dingle Peninsula came to a halt on Tuesday as the Kingdom of Kerry buried Gaelic football king Paidi O Se.

The eight-time All-Ireland winner was laid to rest in his homeland at Ventry after dying of a heart attack on Saturday morning.

The former Kerry player and manager was just 57 and leaves behind his wife Maire and three children.

O Se died suddenly after enjoying a Friday night card session in his Ventry pub with family and friends.

O Se’s brother Tom revealed, “It was quite sudden, we were not expecting it at all. He had been in good form the night before.

“He got up earlier and was complaining of indigestion -- he didn’t know it was his heart.”

Best friend Micheal O Se played cards with Paidi and friends in his Ventry local Quinns on Friday night

Micheal revealed, “He was in terrific health and on his last night he looked better than I have seen him in years.

“He was off the drink and playing cards and drinking tea. He looked 20 years younger.

“I believe he got a pain in his chest and asked his wife Maire for Gaviscon. When she came back with it he was gone.”

O Se’s funeral attracted hundreds of mourners as Kerry and the sporting world remembered one of the greats.

Current Kerry star Colm Cooper summarized the shock within the Irish sporting community at O Se’s unexpected death when he said, “It was devastating news. I just couldn’t believe it to be honest. It is horrible.

“It is horrific really for Maire and the kids. He is a big loss to Kerry, a big loss to the GAA and I think his character and his rogueism, everybody will definitely miss him.

“I started playing in 2002 with Kerry and Paidi was the manager at that time. He was just an inspirational figure having won everything there was possible to win.

“To work with him and see his character, the inspiration I got from him was absolutely incredible. I’m still just in total shock.”

Former Kerry footballer and broadcaster Dara O Cinneide described O Se as “an exception to every rule” in a tribute to his former mentor.

O Cinneide told RTE, “They say Paidi O Se broke the mould. There was no mould. He was an exception to every rule. He was an exceptional man in every single way.

“In terms of GAA, they talk about people that win medals and if medal are a measure of a man, there is a statement in that itself. Eight All-Ireland medals; it is unsurpassed.

“There were all the individual awards he won but it was his contribution really after the game as well as that.

“For a number of years he resurrected Kerry football from the doldrums. He deserves so much praise for that, and that might be recognized now that he has departed.”

O Se’s prowess as a manager brought success to Kerry and Westmeath, but his first of two

All-Ireland wins as boss in 1997 with his native county was probably his greatest achievement.

“I remember when Paidi O Se took over the Kerry team in late 1995. He made one statement -- he was going to put the spirituality back into Kerry football,” added O Cinneide.

“It was at a low ebb at that time and he certainly did that. For a number of years after it, he contributed hugely. There is no need to talk about his prowess as a player. He achieved so much.

“As a manager, that is how I’ll remember him. He looked after us, he looked out for us, he shaped the way we played and thought about football. He was an amazing, amazing manager. He was a gregarious character, full of fun and he’ll be sorely missed.”

Fellow Kerry legend Mick O’Dwyer also paid tribute to O Se.

O’Dwyer told the Irish Independent, “Paidi was as good a defender as ever wore the Kerry jersey -- there’s no doubt in the world about that.

“He was a great captain when we won the All-Ireland in 1985, a great man to motivate lads and to say the right thing at the right time.

“He did a lot of talking that year. He loved the whole captaincy thing. You’d know well he’d be back as a manager later on.”

Armagh’s 2002 All-Ireland winning boss Joe Kernan said, “The reaction to his death up here in Ulster has been incredible. Every GAA man, woman and child in any part of the country felt they knew Paidi. He was just one of those great characters that people loved. It’s hard to believe he’s gone.”

Dublin hero Paddy Cullen said, “He was a one-off. If you take him as an overall package he was the probably the GAA’s biggest diamond because he was a great promotional guy for the game.

“Everywhere he appeared he epitomized the game. He was a Gaeilgeoir, almost a historian, nearly a politician. He knocked on every door. I don’t think he could have achieved much more in his life.”
GAA President Liam O’Neill led the association’s tribute at Tuesday’s funeral.

He said, “There was hardly a person on the island of Ireland, never mind in the GAA, who did not recognize or know of Paidi O Se, such was his contribution to the association and to Irish life over a prolonged period.

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