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“It was very awkward. He was our uncle, he was our hero.”
Páidí Ó Sé was a legendary figure in Kerry, winning eight All-Irelands as a player and then guiding them to the Sam Maguire again as manager.
However, after losing to Armagh in 2002, and then Tyrone in 2003, the iconic figure lost his job in controversial circumstances, something which made things doubly awkward his nephews who played for Kerry.
Marc and his brothers, Tomás and Darragh, were all key parts of the county set-up, and as he explains on the latest episode of the GAA Hour, the flying corner back struggled with the way his uncle was let go.
“It was very awkward. He was our uncle, he was our hero, and I suppose the way that it was dealt with wasn’t the best – he was told by somebody else that he was getting the road.
“We felt, that in terms of what he had achieved with Kerry when playing and managing, we felt that he was hard down by, that was a bitter pill to swallow.”
O’Connor replaced Páidí in ’04 in what was his first stint as Kerry manager, and the new manager had a difficult task trying to get the Ó Sé brothers onside.
However, instead of pandering to them, he showed them respect the best way possible by making a winning team with a mentality that they had to buy in to.
It initially led to some difficult conversations, but in then end, O’Connor was able to get the best out of the Ó Sé trio, and they went on to win the All-Ireland that year.
“I have to give Jack great credit because he went in and we got as far as the All-Ireland club final with An Ghaeltacht, and I had my place in the team in ’02 and’03, but I was way for that time.
“All of the league games were after Christmas, and Aidan O’Mahoney came in, and Paul Galvin had came in, so when I came back after St Patrick’s Day on the All-Ireland club final, I had no position on the team.
“I was on the outside looking in, so Jack obviously made a hard call, and looking back, it was the right call. So I really had to fight hard to get my spot back
“I have to give Jack great credit, I thought he did a great job when he came in.”
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