Páidí Ó Sé - the man who made the difference

Instantly recognisable, always affable, never boring and above all passionate about football.

Those of us who were involved in the 2004 Leinster winning squad were lucky enough to experience first-hand the will to win which made Páidí Ó Sé a living legend.

It’s hard to believe that the eight time All-Ireland winner who conceded just a solitary point in 10 all-Ireland final appearances has gone to his eternal reward so suddenly and at such a young age.

The appointment of Páidí as bainisteoir towards the end of 2003 was as welcome as it was unexpected.

Luke Dempsey had done tremendous work as manager in bringing success to Westmeath at minor and u21 level, and also at senior delivering a divsion two title, but sometimes a new voice is needed.

In an early team meeting he must have mentioned Kerry 50 times before finishing off saying he was a Westmeath man now, and that would be the last time he would mention Kerry to us.

In another pre-match meeting he highlighted the need for all-star midfielder Rory O’Connell to tidy up his kick-passing.

He likened Rory’s to the prize cow who will give the best bucket of milk in the parish only to knock it over. Point made.

He was rightly proud of all he achieved with the Kingdom and it is nice to know that the time spent here in Westmeath and winning the Leinster title in 2004 was another proud chapter in his story.

His inspiration will long be remembered in these parts. It is more than just a cliché to say ‘ni bheidh a leithead ann aris’. Go raibh math agat a Pháidí.

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