Páidí Ó Sé

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Páidí Ó Sé : biography

16 May 1955 – 15 December 2012

There was an outpouring of grief on Twitter. Many personalities used it to express their sorrow. Tadhg Kennelly wrote on Twitter, "Woke up to find the sad news of another Kerry hero who has gone to the "kingdom of Heaven"." Kevin Cassidy wrote, "Shocked to hear of the passing of Paidi O Se wat a man typified all that I love about the GAA skill heart passion had it all and a great guy". Aidan Walsh wrote, "Very sad to hear about Paudie o Shea..one of the best footballers of all time." Marty Morrissey wrote, "Heartbroken."

Kerry GAA released the following statement: "It is with deep regret that Coiste Chontae Chiarraí has been informed of the unexpected death earlier this morning of one of the county’s most outstanding footballers, Páidí Ó Sé. The Chairman of Coiste Chontae Chiarrai, Mr Patrick O’Sullivan, on behalf of all GAA Gaels, wishes to express his deep sympathy to the Ó Sé family on this sad occasion."

President Ó Néill said: "There was hardly a person on the island of Ireland, never mind in the GAA, who did not recognise or know of Páidí Ó Sé, such was his contribution to the Association and to Irish life over a prolonged period."

The body of Páidí Ó Sé lay in repose at his home in Ceann Trá, with "a constant stream of mourners" seen going in and out during the wake.

Ó Sé was also remembered by the BBC at their BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards ceremony, which was held the evening after his death. Des Cahill of RTÉ called it a "fantastic gesture" by the broadcaster in the neighbouring country.

Managerial career

Kerry

In late 1995, Ó Sé returned to the limelight when he was appointed manager of the Kerry senior football team. The task ahead was enormous as Kerry had fallen down the pecking order in terms of championship aspirations. The county hadn’t won an All-Ireland title since Ó Sé was a player almost a decade earlier in 1986. Kerry’s last Munster title came in 1991; however, since then near rivals Cork had dominated the provincial series. In Ó Sé’s first Munster campaign in 1996 Kerry reached the final. Cork, a team looking for an eighth title in ten years, provided the opposition, however, Ó Sé’s touch worked the oracle as the Kingdom won by 0-14 to 0-11. It was a sign that Kerry were on the way back; however, a defeat by Mayo in the subsequent All-Ireland semi-final highlighted the fact that the team was lacking in some quarters.

In 1997, Ó Sé’s Kerry announced their arrival when they captured the National League title at the start of the year. A second Munster title soon followed after a demolition of Clare in the provincial decider. Kerry subsequently qualified for the All-Ireland final, with Mayo providing the opposition. The game saw both sides share periods of dominance. Kerry’s Maurice Fitzgerald scored nine of his team’s points while Mayo scored 1-2 in a two-minute spell. The Connacht champions failed to score in the last twenty minutes as Kerry held on to win by 0-13 to 1-7.The GAA Book of Lists p. 410 The win was all the more significant for Ó Sé as he became one of the few people who captained and managed his county to an All-Ireland title.

1998 saw Ó Sé’s Kerry team make it three Munster titles in a row. But, his side were later defeated by Mick O’Dwyer’s Kildare in the All-Ireland semi-final.

After losing their provincial title in 1999, Kerry were back in 2000, securing a fourth Munster title in five campaigns. Kerry later defeated Armagh, after a draw and a replay which featured extra-time, to set up an All-Ireland final meeting with Galway. That game saw Ó Sé’s side take a seven-point lead; however, Galway fought back to force a 0-14 apiece draw and a replay. A disputed free gave Kerry the lead with seventeen minutes left and Ó Sé’s side eventually held on to win by 0-17 to 1-10.The GAA Book of Lists pp. 410–411.

At this point it looked as if Ó Sé’s side would dominate football for the foreseeable future. In 2001 he guided Kerry to another Munster title and it looked as if a second consecutive All-Ireland title was on the cards. The subsequent All-Ireland semi-final proved to be a reality check as Meath trounced the Kingdom by 2-14 to 0-5.