herald

Sunday 21 December 2014

GAA greats gather at sad farewell to legend Paidi

MEMBERS of the greatest team in Gaelic football history formed a guard of honour at the funeral of sporting legend Paidi O Se in Ventry today.

Paidi's remains were carried the short distance from his home in Ard a Bhothair across the road to the church where Mass was celebrated by Fr Kieran O'Brien.

It was in this church that Paidi had been baptised, made his First Communion and married his wife Maire.

Giants of the GAA from all over the country gathered at his famous pub in west Kerry yesterday where stories about the sporting legend were swapped.

It was the type of social gathering that Paidi himself would have enjoyed having some of the best exponents of Gaelic games under the one roof.

A constant stream of mourners attended the home of eight-times All-Ireland winner in Ard a Bhothair where he lay in repose, his corpse adorned by his medals and a Kerry jersey. Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan who played alongside O Se for Kerry spoke of his shock on hearing of the death of his friend.

Paidi died suddenly at home on Saturday morning of a suspected heart attack.

He was 57.

"It's just so hard to comprehend," he said.

"He was such a larger than life figure it's hard to understand how he could have been taken so soon.

"Paidi was universally loved and very inoffensive and he was very much a one-off."

Kilkenny hurling hero DJ Carey said his favourite memory of Paidi was when the Kilkenny team were staying at the same hotel as him in South Africa.

At the time Paidi had got himself into hot water for referring to Kerry fans as animals but to deflect attention away from himself he put the story out that the Kilkenny players were causing havoc at the hotel.

"He was an expert at manipulating the media," said Carey.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said Paidi would easily have been elected a TD if he had decided to run.

Members of Charlie Haughey's family also attended the wake including his brother Fr Eoin Haughey and his children Eimear Mulhearn, Conor and Ciaran.

Mrs Mulhearn spoke of the enduring friendship between her father and Paidi.

"It was a friendship that was based on mutual respect that was very deep and very strong throughout everything," she said.

Other well-known faces in attendance included former tanaiste Dick Spring and his nephew, Kerry North-West Limerick TD, Arthur Spring, and former Fianna Fail MEP Gerry Collins.

hnews@herald.ie

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