Updated at 17.20
GAA REPRESENTATIVES HAVE paid tribute to Kerry GAA legend Páidí Ó Sé, who has passed away at the age of 57.
Speaking on RTE Radio 1, ex-Kerry GAA captain Ger Power said:
“He played it hard and tough but at the end of the day, he played it fair.
“Everybody in Kerry is going to be sad today.
“He was a fantastic character and a great lift as a captain. He knew he was one of the best, the way he ran out onto the pitch.
“He was totally dedicated to football and the style of it. He was a traditionalist. He made his name with the physical strength and the old-style football.”
Ó Sé won eight All-Ireland medals over the course of his career as a player with Kerry, and his time there coincided with the county’s memorable rivalry with Dublin.
Ex-Dublin star, Brian Mullins, recalled the times he came up against Ó Sé.
“We played them in a number of All-Ireland finals that they got the better of us, but it was an enjoyable time.
“He was always a very competitive opponent. He played the game at 100 miles an hour, which is what you’d expect. There was no surprise in that. He always played fairly and on the margins.
“Because we met in so many All-Ireland finals, there was continuing and enduring friendships in the 70s and the 80s. There was a bit of a legacy between the two groups in that regard.
“When I think of Páidí, I think of somebody who took up a legacy that that was left for him. The tradition, the heritage and how he wore it on his sleeve with a do-or-die attitude. The heart he produced with his passion in play and for his county.”
Meanwhile, former GAA President Seán Kelly added:
“He was a fine block of a player and he had massive determination. He wanted to play for Kerry, captain them, win All-Irelands and manage them to All-Irelands. He wanted to build a pub in Ventry and he did. Anything he set his mind to, he did. His determination knew no bounds.”
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring, also paid tribute to Ó Sé, saying:
“This is a sad day for Ireland, for the GAA, for Kerry, and for Irish culture. Páidí Ó Sé was a legend in so many ways. As a footballer, as a manager, and as an exponent of Irish language and culture, Páidí had few rivals.
“I would like to extend my deep sympathies to his family and friends.”
In addition, Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, offered his condolences to those who knew Ó Sé:
“I was shocked to hear this morning of the death of Páidí Ó Sé. Páidí and I were colleagues on the football field for over ten years, but were friends for much longer.
“Páidí will be remembered not only as one of the greatest footballers of his time and also as a very successful manager guiding Kerry to two All-Ireland victories. His talent, commitment and energy were legendary.
“Páidí’s lifetime of achievement earned him great respect, both in Kerry and across the country. His death, so unexpectedly and at so young an age, is a great loss. I would like to extend my deep condolences to his wife Máire, and children Neasa, Siún and Pádraig Óg on their loss.”
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD also expressed his shock at the news:
“It was with shock and sadness that I learned today of the untimely death of Páidi Ó Sé at his home in Ceann Trá.
“Páidí was a footballing legend, winning eight All-Ireland championships as a player for Kerry and two as manager.
“He will be sadly missed by all those involved with Gaelic games, by the people of Kerry and by his many friends.
“I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy to his family at this sad time.”
And Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin was another of those who expressed his sorrow at Ó Sé’s passing:
“This is a huge loss for Páidí’s family and friends in Kerry, Clare and across the country. He was a giant of the GAA and a gentleman to know.
“When it came to football Páidí had an extraordinary talent. I personally have great memories of stirring Cork-Kerry clashes through the years.
“He was an iconic figure and he personified that spirit of competitive rivalry that is the hallmark of the GAA.
“Páidí was also a very warm-hearted person and he made enduring friendships in sport, politics and business.
“I want to offer my deepest condolences to Páidí’s wife Maire, and their three children, Neasa, Siún and Padraig Og at this very sad and difficult time for them.”
“He was a proud Corca Dhuibhne man.
“Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann.”
Finally, GAA President Liam O’Neill commented:
“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.
“His excellence on the field of play in what was the greatest football team of all time still stands out to those of us who saw it and his passion for the game in no way ended with the completion of his playing days.
“His elevation to management, firstly at U21 level but then at senior, saw his reputation further embellished and he is one of the few people to have succeeded in claiming All-Ireland honors both as a manager and a player after a distinguished career that stretched far beyond his native Kerry.
“Páidí’s affection for the Irish language and Irish culture in general were other hall marks of a man who was steeped in the area he called home.
“On behalf of the wider GAA family I extend my condolences to his wife Máire, his daughters Siún and Neasa, son Pádraig Óg, brother Tomás and the wider Ó Sé family including his nephews Darragh, Tomás and Marc, all of whom followed his example in the green and gold of Kerry.”