EOIN ‘BOMBER’ LISTON, Mícheál Ó’Muircheartaigh and Weeshie Fogarty have all today paid tribute to former Kerry star Páidí Ó Sé, who passed away at the age of 57 over the weekend.
Speaking on The Last Word, former teammate Liston said that Ó Sé had “the heart of a lion”.
“The news just hit us like a thunderbolt – it was such a shock, we thought he was indestructible,” he said. “The man above is picking the best of them.
“He’s just left so many fabulous memories – we travelled all over Ireland together. He was such a lovable rogue.
“It was privilege to have known him and to have played with him.”
Liston also spoke of Ó Sé’s many footballing qualities, which enabled him to win eight All-Irelands as a player.
“He’d feel pride in the Kerry jersey – he was so committed to that jersey.
“And he’d give you a hard time when you weren’t performing. He was a great leader.
“He covered other fellas as well, he was a team player. He wasn’t playing for himself or playing for All Stars, he was playing for the team.”
Liston went on to recount a story in which Ó Sé’s enthusiasm before the 1985 All-Ireland final caused him to break the one fluorescent light in the Kerry dressing room, after bouncing a ball too hard. And he added:
“They say the savage loves his native shore and it was never more true than with Páidí.
“He loved the countryside, he loved Irish music, he loved the Irish culture – he loved everything about the place.”
Meanwhile, legendary GAA commentator Mícheál Ó’Muircheartaigh also paid tribute to Ó Sé.
“GAA President Liam O’Neill put it really well, he said: ‘We all felt as if he belonged to us.’
“He spoke Irish freely anytime he got an opportunity. His speech as captain in 85 was completely ’as Gaeilge’. Everything about him demonstrated pride in place.
“Football would be one aspect of Gaelic culture – but he’d put it at the very top.”
He explained how he once apparently knocked over a statue of the Virgin Mary while playing football in a church at the age of nine, owing to his relentless enthusiasm for the game, and added:
“There was a special bond with anyone who ever played against Kerry and Páidí.
“[People thought] if Páidí said it, it must be okay.”
In addition, Radio Kerry presenter and former GAA player, Weeshie Fogarty, spoke of Ó Sé being “probably the most loved Kerry footballer outside of the county”.
He also pointed out that his managerial qualities were often underappreciated.
“His managership came when [Kerry] were going through a bad spell, and he lifted the county out of the doldrums.
“His whole career was memorable, right through to his managership.
“He proved what a great manager he was at Westmeath by winning the Leinster title.”
But Fogarty finished by emphasising Ó Sé’s quality as a person.
“Behind it all, he was a lovely personality. He was gentle, courteous, kind and giving of his time, especially to the media.
“I wrote a book recently and three or four days ago, I received a handwritten letter from him – how many people would do that?
“And I never saw him losing his temper – he had a great way about him.”