Páidí Ó Sé laid to rest in Ventry
The funeral has taken place in the west Kerry Gaeltacht of the footballer Páidí O’Sé, who died suddenly at the weekend aged 57.
President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny were represented at the service by their aides-de-camp Col Brendan McAndrew and Comdt Michael Treacy.
After a funeral Mass which extended to two hours, O’Sé was buried in the graveyard of St Catherine, ovelooking the sea.
Up to 2,000 mourners and media converged before noon on Saipeal Chaitlín, Ceann Trá , the small stone chapel alongside the late footballer’s home and pub near the village of Ventry.
Several hundred stood in the roadway and crowded the yard in the biting cold outside the church for the funeral mass and tributes which extended for two hours.
More than150 Kerry senior players past and present including Minister for Arts and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan, and Mick O’Connell, attended the funeral and took part in a guard of honor for the hearse alongside players from An Ghaeltacht football club .
Shortly before noon Páidí’s coffin was shouldered from his home by family members, including his nephews Darragh, Marc and Tomás, and followed into the church by his footballing colleagues from the 1980s Kerry teams.
Eight priests concelebrated the all-Irish mass led by his friend Fr Kieran O’Brien, and including the canon of Dingle Fr Tom Looney and the retired Irish scholar Msgr Padraig O’ Fiannnachta.
The gifts to symbolise his life included his autobiography which was brought to the altar by Mick Galwey, a number five Kerry jersey, and a glass and a CD of traditional music by the piper Sean Pots.
Fr O’Brien said he had got to know Páidí through playing handball and had remained close to him even when he moved parishes to Killarney.
Like everyone in life, Páidí had known times when things went against him, and he had felt a cloud around him "scamall timepeall air."
But he always had a word for everyone and time for everyone, “uasal agus íseal”.
Referring to Páidí’s wife Maire, his children Neasa, Siún and Pádraig, Fr O’Brien said: “On my own behalf and on behalf of the people of west Kerry and the entire county, as the year draws to a close and the sun is at its lowest in the skies darkness has fallen on this community and on Páidí’s family with his sudden and untimely death, we pray for them at this time. Ní bheidh a leitheid ann aris.”
Páidís son Padraig Óg told how he had been comforted by Tyrone manager Mickey Harte since his father’s death. After the chat with the Tyrone manager, he knew he would remain close to his father and everyone else would too.
As it left the church the cortege was led by Páidí’s former manager Mick O’Dwyer, chairman of the Kerry county GAA board Patrick O’Sullivan and chairman of the Munster council of the GAA Sean Walsh.
With the line of players past and present lining each side and the cortege beginning to move, Cór Cúl Aodha, the all male choir of the Cork Gaeltacht under the direction of Peadar O’ Riada, began to thunder “ Sé Mo Laoch Mo Ghile Mear” , the 18th century Irish tribute to Bonne Prince Charlie
Among the dignitaries were the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, former taoiseach Brian Cowen, and Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte.
Mr Rabbitte had missed a Cabinet meeting to be among those who stood outside the church to attend the funeral of his friend . He had known Páidí for a quarter of a century , he said.
“They threw away the mould when they made Páidí. He was a tourist attraction in his own right,” he said.
Micheal Ó’Muricheartaigh, who acted as MC said Páidí was now “a fixture on the team of Heaven”.
“I know he’ll put in a good word for all of us,” he said as the church applauded.