Páidí O'Sé - The King Of Kerry Football Strode Majestically All Over Ireland
The name of the game is “WINNING” and with immense success comes immense fame. However the sports hero needs a strong personality to enhance the fame and the hero needs to be accepted No.1 amongst his own people as ONE OF THEIR OWN
The sportsman I am writing on qualifies on all fronts and he is a legend whose deeds will live on for future generations of his kindred in the Kerry Gaeltacht of Ventry.
He was a livewire gaelic footballer and a manager who turned the heads of ordinary people who knew very little about gaelic football but they all believed they knew Páidí O’Sé, the Kerryman who kicked ball for the green/gold of Kerry.
His sporting reputation was created by himself and his actions and an endearing personality that was inescapable. His life journey took fifty seven years and seven months from the day he was born to the almighty day when the whole of Ireland was shocked to the core when his death was announced on radio and TV news programmes.
He seemed “BULLET PROOF” even to people who never shook his hand or never saw Páidí in the flesh. The very mention of his name got people out of their seats.
His stage or sportsfield presence gave him centre stage and he seemed more than capable of taking and giving mouthfuls of rancor amongst his peers.
Páidí O’Sé established his own reputation as one of Kerry’s greatest ever footballers, a player who won eight All Ireland senior football medals and five All Stars.
The Ventry footballer first played for Kerry as a member of the county minor football team but he enjoyed little success in this grade, before later joining the Kerry under-21 football team.
After missing Kerry's Munster final triumph in 1973, Ó Sé was a key addition to the Under 21 team for the subsequent All-Ireland final. Mayo provided the opposition on that occasion and Kerry recorded a 2-13 to 0-13 victory. The win gave Ó Sé an All Ireland Under 21 medal.
Onwards to 1974, and Páidí captured a second Munster Under 21 medal following a nine-point trouncing of Waterford. 1975 and ’76 brought two more All Ireland Under 21 medals to Páidí and Kerry and by now he was beginning to wear the Kerry senior jersey with great success.
When the official call came to become a Kerry senior footballer, Páidí made his first senior appearance for Kerry in a National League game against Galway in 1974. It was a successful campaign as Kerry subsequently reached the league final against Roscommon.
Success dawned after a drawn final that was followed up in a replay game by 0-14 to 0-8 victory for Kerry. It was his first National League medal. He later made his championship debut against Waterford in the 1974 Munster senior football championship.
In 1975 a new-look Kerry team took over from Cork and brought a new dawn as Mick O’Dwyer took over the senior management and the mighty successes garnered at Under 21 brought a rich harvest, unseen in the annals of gaelic football.
Páidí Ó Sé was just one of many stand out players who played a key role in the new Mick O'Dwyer set up and from 1975 onwards the Ventry footballers name was up in bright lights all over Ireland.
His Munster and All Ireland successes are well documented in gaelic footballs history books and the records state that he won a further seven All Ireland senior football medals.
Páidí’s incorporation in our All Ireland Hall Of Fame Online Gallery as a giant player of gaelic football did not require any nominations. His sporting deeds on the playing field spoke a language that is treasured with golden memories of a supreme Kerry footballer, whilst off the field he strode majestically with honour and glory.
Páidí O’Sé is one of those rare and unique sportsmen that commands composers of songs to pen a great ballad, just like the famous Cavan song “The Gallant John Joe”.
In our All Ireland Hall Of Fame ONLINE Gallery under “Irish Sports Coaches” Páidí would be equally comfortable as one of the games greatest motivators and his historic achievement with Westmeath senior footballers was ashes to gold material.
Páidí never had failures in gaelic football despite losing All Ireland senior football finals to arch rivals, Dublin. The abrasive all action manner ripped through every utterance of polite or impolite words delivered by Páídí and the sole intention was encouragement to win gallantly or take defeat as the unwanted second best prize.
The fire in his delivery of flowery words and motivation roused ordinary players to believe, they could move mountains sideways in their quest for glory and the honour of Páidí O’Se. Hundreds of gaelic footballers proved Páidí very correct on many glorious occasions.
From entering the ranks of An Garda Síochána as a raw youth on the streets of Limerick and establishing a homely and fine bar and restaurant in his native Ventry, people from all over the world descended on his business premises just to say “They were in Páidí O’Sé’s Bar”
Only the really popular and famous Irish personalities can bridge all divides and a measure of Páidí’s hospitality and kindness came to me personally when I requested Páidí a few years ago, to consider travelling up to Passage West, Co. Cork, to pay his own tribute to songwriter/singer, John Spillane, whom I honoured with a “This Is Your Life” special show. Páidí’s presence created a whirl of magic attention.
When the Kerry County Board dramatically severed Páidí’s managerial reign in the twilight of 2003, some experts stated it was of his own making when he criticised Kerry supporters for expecting a divine right at all times to be No.1 and No.1 ONLY in the world of gaelic football.
Dusting himself down following his exit from Kerry, he strode up to the midlands to a county who had never won a major senior football or hurling title at provincial or national levels since Michael Cusack founded the G.A.A. in November 1884.
Westmeath fans could hardly believe that their county board had produced a football miracle by persuading the Kerry maestro to tackle the impossible. In his very first reign in 2004, Westmeath climbed Everest by winning their very first ever Leinster senior football championship title.
With his decision to take leave of absence from Westmeath in 2005, Páidí made one final managerial foray in 2007 and took on the mantle of the Clare senior football team. Alas the candle that had burned so brightly from his 1970’s youthful days through to 2007, was running out of wick and the impact of all play, all work and no peace without football, was taking its toll.
Like Páidí, another King, the everlasting Elvis Presley, strode majestically through his life and when he died unexpectedly at just forty two years young, the world went into mourning.
Ireland went into a sense of deep shock also when the King Of Kerry football died in his sleep at his West Kerry home in the early morning at Ceann Trá on the15th December 2012.
The All Ireland Hall Of Fame will now preserve and promote the Golden Memories of the Kerry King Of Football, Páidí O’Sé, a sports and businessman who captured the hearts and minds of sports fans around the globe.
Roll Of Honour:
O'Sullivan Cups (Kerry Colleges) x 4 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974.
Munster Colleges x 2 1972, 1973.
Munster College ‘B’ 1974
National & Provincial Titles
Munster Under 21 Football Titles: x 4 1973/74/75/76
All Ireland Under 21 Football Titles: x 3 1973/75/76
All Ireland Senior Football Titles: x 8 1975/78/79/80/81/84/85/86
Munster Senior Football Titles: x 11 1975/76/77/78/79/80/81/82/84/85/86
National Football League Titles: x 4 1974/77/82/84
Railway Cup: x 4 1976/78/81/82
All Stars: x 5 1981/82/83/84/85
Kerry County Titles:
Senior Football Championship: x 2 1984/85
West Kerry Senior Football Championship: x 3 1984/85 (player manager)/90
Inter County Football Management:
All Ireland Senior Football Titles: (Kerry) x 2 1997; 2000
All Ireland Under 21 Football Titles (Kerry) 1995
Munster Senior Football Titles (Kerry) x 6 1996/97/98/2000/01/03
Munster Under 21 Football Titles (Kerry) 1993/95
National Football League: (Kerry) 1997
Leinster Senior Football Title: 2004
Páidí O'Se - Born 16th May 1955 Died 15th December 2012
Derry JF Doody