Today is a very sad day for GAA, West Kerry and all the O’Se family in Ard a’Bothar. The legend that is Paidi O’Se or PO as he was known locally passed away suddenly.
Every GAA fan has heard of this man and even people who have no interest in the sport knows the name. Paidi has won nearly everything there is to win in the game as a player and manager. His was the King of Kerry and had respect everywhere he went. He didn’t demand respect, he earned it.
I had the pleasure of playing for An Ghaeltacht from the age of 10 years and I remember Paidi coming down to Gallarus pitch and going through a couple of drills with us on occasion. He was like this god of football and we were all pushing harder to every ball to impress him. His sheer presence was a massive motivational drive when you were on the football field – for PO to even say your name was like you had just won the West Kerry Championship.
Football is like religion in Kerry and it runs through your blood. As the old advert on tv said, “its not just GAA, its DNA”. Paidi personified this culture with his passion. He could be very soft spoken and collective face to face and more so in front of the camera, but he came alive in the dressing room and on the field. This was his arena, this is where he was born to be.
The man trained as hard and as often as he could during his time as a player – he was hard as nails and as physical as they come on the field. Paidi played in 10 All-Ireland finals with only 1 point being scored against him in those 700 minutes. Is it any surprise Kerry were victorious on 8 of those occasions.
When we were 14 years of age the team (An Ghaeltacht U14) went on a tour to Down and Derry to play football. We stopped in Croke Park en route for a tour of the stadium and to walk on the pitch. PO greeted us there and showed us around. He told us stories of his time there from dressing room team talks to collecting Sam in 1985 as captain. He took us onto the hollowed grass of Croker and brought us down towards the corner of Hogan and the Hill. He stood us all there and told us a story of how he was standing marking his man during the playing of the National Anthem and when everyone was looking up at the Tricolour he kicked his man “right in the hole” to let him know he was there! He had a more devilment way of saying it in Irish of course.
Paidi loved the craic and he loved his sport. He was a true GAA man and did all he could to promote Kerry and Ireland.
I am due to travel to the Paidi O’Se Tournament with my new team Fingal Ravens next February – it will be a challenge to support another team against my former club, where I learned all about football, but PO would never back down from a challenge and neither will I – it is all about the football.
Thank you for your guidance and inspiration Paidi – you leave behind a legacy that will never be repeated. Farewell PO
‘Ni bheidh do leitheid aris ann Paidi – Ar Dheis De go raibh do anam’
By; Stephen Maguire – December 15th 2012