Páidí Ó Sé

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Páidí Ó Sé : biography

16 May 1955 – 15 December 2012

Inter-provincial

O Sé also lined out with Munster in the inter-provincial series of games and enjoyed much success.

He first played for his province in 1976 as Munster reached the decider. A 2-15 to 2-8 defeat of Leinster gave Ó Sé a coveted Railway Cup medal.

After an absence of a year, Ó Sé returned to the provincial team in 1978. Munster reached the decider once again; however, a 2-7 apiece draw with Ulster was the result on that occasion. Munster won the replay by 4-12 to 0-19 and Ó Sé collected a second Railway Cup medal.

Ó Sé lined out with Munster until 1985, winning two more Railway Cup medals following back-to-back defeats of Connacht in 1981 and 1982.

Business

Ó Sé ran a famed pub in Ceann Trá, the opening of which was attended by Taoiseach Charles Haughey, who flew into Kerry on one of his helicopters. The wall of his famous pub is adorned with portraits of figures such as Bill Clinton, Tom Cruise, Martin Sheen, Dolly Parton, Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen.

Honours

Player

Schools titles
  • 4 O’Sullivan Cups [Kerry Colleges] (1971, 1972, 1973, 1974)
  • 2 Munster College As (1972, 1973)
  • 1 Munster College B (1974)
Underage titles
  • 4 Munster Under-21 Football Championships (1973, 1974, 1975, 1976)
  • 3 All-Ireland Under 21 Football Championships (1973, 1975, 1976)
Senior titles
  • 8 All-Ireland Senior Football Championships (1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1986)
  • 11 Munster Senior Football Championships (1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986)
  • 4 National Football Leagues (1974, 1977, 1982, 1984)
  • 4 Railway Cups (1976, 1978, 1981, 1982)
  • 2 County Senior Championships (1984, 1985)
Individual
  • 5 All Stars (1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985)

Manager

Kerry
  • 2 All-Ireland Senior Football Championships (1997, 2000)
  • 6 Munster Senior Football Championships (1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003)
  • 1 All-Ireland Under 21 Football Championship (1995)
  • 2 Munster Under-21 Football Championships (1993, 1995)
  • 1 National Football League (1997)
Westmeath
  • 1 Leinster Senior Football Championship (2004)
West Kerry
  • 3 County Senior Championships (1984, 1985 [Player/Manager] 1990)

Death

Ó Sé’s body was found at his home in Ceann Trá early on 15 December 2012. His death, at the age of 57, was unexpected and was thought to have been as a result of a heart attack. Having got up in the morning, he had gone to lie down again after experiencing what he thought was indigestion, and his wife Maire made the discovery.

Reactions were swift from the sporting and political spheres. President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins led tributes. Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore described Ó Sé as "arguably the best defender to grace Croke Park […] a one-off – truly unique". Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht minister Jimmy Deenihan was "shocked" to learn of the death. Sports minister Michael Ring said it was as "a sad day for Ireland, the GAA, for Kerry and for Irish culture". Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin called him a GAA giant and gentleman.

Ó Sé’s fellow Kerry legend Pat Spillane said he was "heartbroken". John Mahoney, who both played against and managed against Ó Sé, said he was "deeply shocked". Dara Ó Cinnéide described the deceased as “an exception to every rule”. Joe Kernan, whose Armagh team triumphed over Ó Sé’s Kerry team in the 2002 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final, 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 Páidí. He was just one of those great characters that people loved. It’s hard to believe he’s gone.” Little Colm Cooper, who first played for Kerry when Ó Sé was manager, was said to be devastated.