Tomás Ó Flatharta made the long journey from Bolivia to Kerry to bid a final farewell to his friend Páidí Ó Sé.
Former Westmeath and Galway manager Ó Flatharta played a key role in Páidí’s backroom team when the Lake County won its first, and only, Leinster SFC title in 2004.
“It was very upsetting to get news like that. I was very far away from home and it was a big shock to everybody,” O Flatharta told the Westmeath Independent.
“I was meant to be in South America until next February, but I wanted to say a final farewell to Páidí.
“I had to take a number of bus journeys and plane journeys, and I’m glad that I was able to make it back in time.”
He added: “My first memories of Páidí are of when I was about seven or eight years of age and he was playing for An Ghaeltacht. We later played together for An Ghaeltacht.
“When I moved to Dublin we always kept in touch and when he took on the Westmeath job, he asked me to get involved and we spent two great years together with Westmeath.
“Westmeath won their first Leinster championship during those two years and we had great fun during that time.
“He was very passionate about Kerry football and football in general. He had a huge passion for the green and gold jersey, and he was one of the Kingdom’s all-time greats.
“He was a winner and a great motivator, and he was able to persuade people to do things that they otherwise thought they couldn’t do.
“First of all he had a track record of playing in All-Ireland finals, so he had a pedigree, and he was able to instil confidence and belief into players.”
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