A bronze statue stands to Mick O’Dwyer in his native Waterville in south Kerry. Earlier this year RTÉ aired a documentary on his life. And now the famous football manager will be honoured with a civic reception by councillors and officials in Tralee.
Today Micko, now in his 82nd year, will be the subject of a packed reception at Aras an Chontae.
The county building is near the football sculpture at the Clashlehane Roundabout where four men reach high for the ball on the field of play.
It was erected 10 years ago to mark Kerry’s passion for Gaelic football.
The county is more diverse these days and its tastes go beyond the GAA, but football is still king.
Micko has previously noted that football in Kerry is more than a game, calling it the glue that holds the huge county together.
The proposal for a civic reception for Micko was from Mike Kennelly, Listowel area councillor and the brother of the late, great footballer Tim, and uncle of Tadhg.
Known in his later years as a manager, not just of Kerry but three Leinster teams, Mick O’Dwyer started playing with Kerry in 1954 when he first donned the green and gold as a Kerry minor.
He made the seniors in 1956. He played in 21 All-Irelands, has four All-Ireland medals and as a Kerry manager steered them to eight titles.
Afterwards, of course, from his base in Waterville, he guided Kildare, Laois and Wicklow to their first real successes in decades.
However, his roots were always in south Kerry and he remained a key part of south Kerry and Waterville’s success during all this time.
In 2014 he was a pivotal part of an U14 success for his seaside village.
Today’s reception will also, it is likely, pay tribute to O’Dwyer’s love of cars, and to his understated style.
His method was never to boast, never to play up, however well prepared, but always to play down.
Micko’s catchphrase “sure we’ll turn up anyway”, which came to be known as a football tactic, is used now throughout Kerry.
The reception, hosted by the council and its mayor John Sheahan, takes place at lunchtime.
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