Páidí was always terrific company, with his wit and sense of humour

Mon, Dec 17, 2012, 00:00

All my years in and around Gaelic football, I never met a man with more passion for the game, with a greater love for Kerry football, than Páidí Ó Sé, something he never lost, never gave up on.

I was already four or five years on the Kerry team when Páidí arrived on the scene, and straightaway made his mark. He’d come in with a bit of a reputation, some success in the under-21 grade, but lived up to it, was the making of the team of that era, really.

He had great respect for Mick O’Dwyer, and vice versa, had the attitude too, more than anything else. He’d be first to training, very dedicated, always looking to perfect his skills. Over the years, Micko would assign some players with extra training, and Páidí would invariably be included. But he would never flinch, always took on the work.

He often gave the impression of playing on pure passion, his emotions running riot, when in fact he was steady, reliable, and very dependable as a player. He took great satisfaction in keeping his man scoreless.

Páidí was also one of the first defenders, I recall, to burst forward, when he saw the opportunity. We’d be shouting at him to get back, but he was so reliable on the ball he rarely gave it away.

At training there was never any let-up, especially when he insisted on marking Pat Spillane. The crowds would come pouring into Killarney, just to see that match-up.

The bigger the occasion, too, All-Irelands especially, the more Páidí loved it. He often delivered his best performances on the big days, was so consistent, rarely had a bad game, always covered his corner.

With those leadership qualities as a player, and his great passion, it was a natural progression for him to go into management. In 2000, he invited me to come on board, as team trainer and selector, and they were as enjoyable years as any we’d played together.

He was always terrific company, his wit, and laughter and great sense of humour. He always spoke of the “Kerry spirit”, and it was a very special thing to him, to wear that green and gold.

My deepest condolences to his family on this saddest of times.

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