‘He’d a great sense of people a very passionate man”

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There's a long road there yet.... Paidi O'Se takes in the view over the Blasket Islands near his pub in West Kerry. Picture by Don MacMonagle

He’s the main man on the sideline now but Jack Cooney had stockpiled plenty of experience before he was appointed as the Westmeath manager last September.

15 years ago, he had an eye-witness view as a selector when the great Páidí Ó Sé steered the county to a memorable Leinster senior title win.

The impact that the Kerry great left an indelible impression on Cooney.

“He had such an understanding people it was magic and got the best out of them”, says Cooney speaking to Budda on the Sports Talk podcast.

Cooney recalls that in 2004 when Westmeath was playing Offaly in the championships that the speech that Páidí gave was so motivating that it lifted the player’s spirits in the dressing room to go on and win the game.

He recalls the sequence of events that happened in resulting in him coming on board as a selector with Páidí.

“Through a bizarre string of circumstances, I was coming back from a club match and came across an accident outside Mullingar which held me off for twenty to thirty minutes.

“Thankfully, nobody was hurt I had to call into Denis Coyle to pick up my aunt to bring her back to Dublin which I would never do. I said I would call in on my way back and collect you.

“I was living in Dublin at the time and as I walked in and Páidí was latterly there five minutes talking to Denis, and I just walked past as well Páidí best of luck in the new role.

“As I was walking past Denis called me back Jack come here I want to introduce you to Páidí, so I spent a couple of minutes talking to Páidí and said look I was there for the last three years if you need help or anything with one of the players I would be more than happy to help you.

“The next day I meet Páidí and the rest is history”