GAA ‘has lost its greatest ambassador’

The GAA had lost one its greatest ambassadors, with the untimely death of Páidí Ó Sé, mourners heard.

In a graveside oration, Munster GAA Council chairman Sean Walsh said the renowned footballer had earned the affection of many people, and not just for his achievements on the field or his infectious, warm personality off the field.

“Páidí had many friends... from every walk of life,” said Mr Walsh. “He was as comfortable sitting with the locals in [Dingle pub] Foxy John’s as he was in Government Buildings with the taoiseach of the day.”

Mr Walsh was chairman of the Kerry GAA Board which controversially dismissed Páidí from his post as manager of the county team in 2003.

He said the Ó Sé family had bestowed on him a great honour by requesting that he speak at the funeral.

“I am fully aware, as indeed we all are, that we are mourning the loss of an extraordinary individual and that words are not adequate to convey our deep sense of loss, but we feel it in our hearts, in our bones and in our minds,” said Mr Walsh.

“From our midst has been taken an icon, a legend in his own lifetime, a man of many talents and many parts, a man we will remember for these talents.

“But the greatest sense of loss and grief will be felt by his family, and our thoughts and prayers are with them.”

More than 200 Gaeltacht GAA club members and Kerry footballers formed a guard of honour to flank the hearse from the church to Reilig Caitliona, about 1km away overlooking Ventry Strand, followed by a large crowd of mourners.

The coffin was topped by a number 5 Kerry jersey, which was worn with distinction by the winner of eight All-Ireland medals.

The cortege was led by Mr Walsh, current Kerry GAA chairman Patrick O’Sullivan, and former Kerry player and manager Mick O’Dwyer.

* An annual football tournament, organised largely by Páidí Ó Sé, is to proceed as planned in February in the west Kerry Gaeltacht.


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