There he is in typical pose, tearing out of defence at full stretch, about to hop the leather from his left hand and God help anyone blocking his path.
Páidi Ó Sé immortalised in bronze.
Household names were among the hundreds of admirers of the football icon who turned out on Saturday — on what would have been his 60th birthday — for the unveiling of the statue outside the family public house at Ard a’ Bhothair, Ventry, Co Kerry.
Clare sculptor Seamus Connolly captured not only the physical appearance of Ó Sé, who died suddenly in December 2012, but also his indomitable spirit.
His widow Máire, holding their six-month-old grandchild, Fiadh Fitzgerald, was pleased with the work.
“It’s of a younger Páidi. We’re delighted to see so many people on this very special occasion and he would have loved it himself,” she said.
Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, acting as MC, described the event as “a mixture of pride, sorrow and sadness at the same time”.
The formal unveiling was performed by another GAA legend, Mick O’Dwyer, who managed Kerry teams with which Ó Sé won eight All-Ireland medals.
Describing him as one of the greatest characters he ever met, the 78-year-old maestro said anywhere he travelled in Ireland people wanted to talk about the charismatic Ó Sé: “He was an outstanding footballer whose memory will live on when many other players are forgotten about. This statue will stand as a monument to one of our greatest ever Kerry footballers.”
Kerry players from the 1970s and 1980s in attendance included Paudie Lynch, Ogie Moran, Eoin ‘Bomber’ Liston, Tommy Doyle, Jimmy Deenihan, Ambrose O’Donovan, John Long, Anthony and Ger O’Keeffe.
Footballers from earlier eras included Tom Long, Michael Ó Sé, Seamus Mac Gearailt, Tom Prendergast and Weeshie Fogarty.
Also in attendance were former players from other counties,former GAA presidents Sean Kelly and Joe McDonagh, former Munster GAA Council chairman Sean Walsh and retired GAA director general Liam Mulvihill and retired Supreme Court judge Hugh O’Flaherty. From Cork GAA came Dr Con Murphy, Diarmuid O’Donovan, Jerry O’Sullivan and retired Irish Examiner Gaelic games correspondent Jim O’Sullivan.
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