Weeshie's Week

Graveside Oration by Sean Walsh at the funeral of Paidi O Se

December 18th, 2012
by Sean Walsh - Cathoirleach Comhairle na M˙mhan CLG

The Ó Sé family have bestowed a great honour on me by requesting that I speak at Páidí's 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. 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, not only at this time, but into the future.

Páidí Ó Sé, Peileadóir Chiarraí, Captaen Foireann Chiarraí, Bainisteoir Foireann Chiarraí, garda, Fear an Tí anseo i dTigh Pháídí in Árd A'Bhóthair, fear clainne, fear a raibh scéalta iontacha greannúr le h-insint aige. Tá sé deachair dúinn a thuiscint go bhfuil sé imithe uainn.

Is i ngeansaí Chiarraí is mó a bheidh cuimhne againn go deo ar Pháidí Ó Sé. Peileadóír den chéad scoth a bhain cliú agus cáil amach dó féin is cuma pé áit sa pháirc ina raibh sé ag imirt.  Ocht mbonn uile Éireann sinsear buaite aige comh maith leis na gradaim go léir eile a bhuaidh sé san Sraith Náísiúnta, Corn An Bhóthair Iarainn agus i gCraobh Na Mumhan, agus anseo i gCiarraí i gCroabh an Chontae.

Bhí sé mar cheannaire den chéad scoth againn i bpáirc na h-imeartha agus go h-áirithe in 1985 mar chaptaen na fóirne.  Chruthaigh sé ceannaireacht fíor iontach ní h-amháin ar an bpáirc imeartha mar imreoir ach chomh maith mar bhainisteoir na fóirne laistigh agus lasmuigh den pháirc.

Ní dhéanfaidh éinne dearmad go deo ar an óráid a thug sé as Gaeilge tar éis dó an Chorn Sam a ghlachadh i ndiaidh an Chluiche Cheannais i bPáirc An Chróchaigh in 1985. Ba chruthú é sin ar an gcaighdéan ard a bhí aige féin . Bhí sé fíor lámhach lena chuid ama agus é ag bualadh le daoine a tháínig anseo chun chainte leis.  Táimid uilig bródúil as an méid a rinne sé ar son Cumann Lúthchleas Gael agus do Chíarraí i gcoitine.

Páidí was truly in every sense of the word a Kerry great on the field and off the field he was always so entertaining to listen to. He will be sadly missed by all. Today we lay to rest the unconquerable Páidí  Ó Sé, a friend to millions, a loving husband to Máire, a loving father to his children Neasa, Siún and Padraig Óg, and the proudest uncle in the world to Feargal, Darragh, Tomás and Marc and ever present friend and brother to Tom. His memory will be lovingly and proudly remembered by all who knew him. Today the GAA mourns the passing of one its greatest ambassadors. Few have earned the affection of so many sports people not alone for their sporting achievements and for their infectious, warm and charismatic personalities off the field as Páidí Ó Sé. Páidí had many friends not alone from the sporting world but from every walk of life. He was as comfortable and happy sitting with the locals in Foxy John's as he was in Government buildings with the Taoiseach of the day.

It was highly appropriate that leading the many tributes paid to Páidí since his untimely death last Saturday was one from Uachtarán Na hÉireann, Michael D. Higgins. Appropriate because Páidí throughout his life embodied everything of what it meant to be Irish. A fíor Gael, he was passionate about everything Irish. Coming from An Ghaeltacht his love of our native language was nurtured from the cradle and it was in his own native language that he articulated his great joy of being a an All-Ireland winning captain in his speech on the steps of the Hogan Stand in 1985.  When speaking in his native tongue it was always spoken with such colour and beauty that it would bring on tears of joy and often laughter.  He loved our Gaelic culture, music, song, dance and literature and his passion for politics was widely known. But it was in our games that his passion truly blossomed from a very young age. And when his playing days and his times in management were over he never lost that passion and kept it alive in his weekly column in the Sunday Independent. He contributed to many TV and Radio programmes and documentaries about Gaelic Games and at the time of his death was busy organising his Annual Football Tournament which in 2013 would be his own personal contribution to The Gathering where he planned to invite teams from overseas. As a director of Fáilte Ireland he was passionate about the importance of promoting tourism particularly to his beloved Chorcha Dhuibhne and Kerry.

Everybody here today will recall their own personal memories and if all those memories were collected and put together it would indeed be filled with many stories of his illustrious years as a player and team manager, it would be funny because Páidí had the charm and roguery to be a great storyteller who would have an audience in the palm of his hand as he told some wonderful stories of his own exploits and those of others. Stories, that he embellished so well with his unique gift to entertain that his listeners would always have a good laugh, often at his own expense.

As a player and manager his achievements are huge:-

Playing Honours

Schools titles

    O'Sullivan Cup (Kerry Colleges) 4: 1971,1972,1973,1974
    Munster College A with St. Brendan's Killarney 2: 1972,1973
    Munster Colleges B with St. Micheal's Listowel 1: 1974

Underage titles

    3 Munster U21 Championship  1973,1975,1976
    3 All Ireland U21 Championship 1973,1975,1976

Senior titles

    All Ireland Senior Championship 8: 1975,1978,1979,1980,1981,1984,1985,1986
    Munster Senior Championship 11: 1975,1976,1977,1978,1979,1980,1981,1982,1984,1985,1986
    National League 4: 1974,1977,1982,1984
    Railway Cup 4: 1976,1978,1981,1982
    All Stars 5: 1981,1982,1983,1984,1985
    County Senior Championship: 1984,198

Managerial honours


    All Ireland Senior Championship 2: 1997,2000
    Munster Senior Championship 6: 1996,1997,1998,2000,2001,2003
    All Ireland U21 Championship 1: 1995
    Munster U21 Championship 2; 1993,1995
    National League 1: 1997


    Leinster Senior Championship 1: 2004

West Kerry

    County Senior Championship 3: 1984, 1985 (Player/Manager) 1990

Árd A Bhóthair was a very special place to Páidí. Here he grew from boy to man in a close knit and happy family environment that made a deep imprint on his future life. Here his early passion for football was nurtured and encouraged by his parents and older brothers. In this happy household Beatrice reigned as mother and queen and woe betide any misguided interloper that interfered with one of her brood. This loving caring and wise Matriarch was considered by the youthful Páidí as having opinions that were far superior to any verdict of the Supreme court and he left nobody in any doubt about it.

And it is true that while Páidí made many long journeys the length and breadth of this country his heart remained firmly planted in the soil of Árd a Bhóthair. Agus táim cinnte gurb'é anseo i measc a mhuintir féin in Árd a Bhóthair i nGaeltacht Chorcha Dhuibhne i gCiarraí Thiar go mbeidh an bhrón is mó, tuisc nach bhfuil an ard rí ann a thuilleadh.

It would be fair to say that the game of backs and forwards played high in the sky last night, that John Egan would have found a lot less room in the forwards now that Páidí has joined Tim Kennelly in the back line and I have no doubt that the after party is still ongoing.

It is true to say that here in Kerry football defines us as a people. We are proud of our 36 All-Ireland titles and the players and mentors who achieved that distinguished Roll of Honour. For generations our players and teams have been immortalised in song, in story and in poetry.

Good poetry has that special ingredient that will evoke the deepest emotion of the human heart, indeed, is the spirit that remains unmoved in the presence of such genius – because genius is what it is. Liam MacGabhann, a native of Valentia, was one who had it in rich abundance. His "Blind man at Croke Park" captures brilliantly the spiritual essence of Kerry's football pride exuded by Páidí Ó Sé

"Listen, asthore, for those old eyes are sealed
Tell me once more when the Kerrymen take the field
Tell an old man who is feeble, grey and old
Do they walk proudly still wearing the Green and Gold?"

When Sigerson Clifford wrote I AM OF KERRY you would think that he wrote the last verse with Páidí in mind:

Twas thus I lived, skin to skin with the earth
Elbowed by the hills, drenched by the billows,
Watching the black geese making black wedges,
By Skelligs far west and Annascaul of the willows.
Their voices came on every little wind,
Whispering across the half door of the mind,
For always I am Kerry.

Árd A Bhóthair was his birthplace, the place where he and Máire raised their family and ran their business. It was his homeland physically and spiritually, the place he never left and today as we bid our sad farewells that the man, who achieved stardom and rubbed shoulders, with the great was in essence the boy from Árd A Bhóthair full of boyish mischief with a great sense of fun and enjoyment and without a touch of malice in his generous spirit.

May the Ventry sod rest lightly on this noble warrior and may the angels bear him gently to God's happy playing field.

Go dtuga Dia suaimhneas síorraí dá anam Uasal.

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