The highest praise anyone could give to Marc Ó Sé is to say that he’s the best footballer to have come out of the Ó Sé household in Ceann Trá.
His uncle Paidi won more All-Ireland medals and created more legends, his big brother Tomás was the one who made the marauding runs up the field from wing-back and his bigger brother Darragh pulled the balls out of the skies.
But it was Marc who had all the skills. He really was the complete footballer and the announcement of his retirement on Tuesday afternoon marks the end of an incredible era.
We need your consent to load this SoundCloud contentWe use SoundCloud to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences
Kerry will sail into the 2017 without an Ó Sé brother in their panel for the first time since Darragh pulled on the Kingdom jersey in 1994 - an incredible 22 years of service.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Marc could have played in any outfield position on the pitch and not looked out of place; he was simply that good of a footballer.
However, we rarely got to see the full range of his abilities because he spent almost his entire career putting out fires in the full-back line.
For more than a decade five-time All-Ireland winner Ó Sé was consistently asked to tie down the opposition’s most dangerous forward.
Down through the years he marked Bernard Brogan, Stephen O’Neill, Colm O’Neill, Padraic Joyce, Stephen McDonnell and all the rest of the great forwards of his generation.
To come away from his career with three All Stars and the Footballer of the Year award for 2007 tells you all you need to know about his abilities and consistency.
Even when he was marking the most lethal forwards in the game he managed to get forward to score 13 points in his 86 Championship appearances, which just hints at the ability he had.
This season his powers began to wane and his old friend, Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice chose to bench him for the biggest games of the year.
It was no surprise when he announced his retirement following the way he lingered on the pitch along with fellow old-stagers Aidan O’Mahony and Kieran Donaghy after the gut-wrenching All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Dublin in August.
But for much of the previous decade the Tralee based secondary school teacher was the best Gaelic footballer in the land.
Hardly ever was he ever taken to the cleaners, and getting a pasting is something that every corner-back has to put up with at least once in a while, and more often he was outstanding. When a player is consistently brilliant however, particularly in such an unshowy position as the corner, they’re rarely noticed.
Like all of the top-of-the-range modern inter-county stars Ó Sé, who describes himself in his Twitter bio simply as Ciarraíoch - or From Kerry, had real pace, but that was the very least of his attributes.
He could read a game and he could read his direct opponent and this allowed him to rarely look under pressure, no matter how high the stakes. Marc Ó Sé was a master of the right place at the right time.
It was when he was on the ball though that the youngest of the four brothers, the eldest Fergal was a fine footballer in his day and managed An Ghaeltacht to an All-Ireland club final in 2004, really came into his own.
He played with that distinctive Ó Sé head-up fashion and he always picked the right pass at the right time.
Grace, style, aggression, ability - he really had it all and August afternoons in Croke Park won’t be the same without him.
Marc O'Sé was Picasso trapped as a house painter. Corner backs were never supposed to be so talented. What a career.— Mike Quirke (@Mike_Quirke) October 12, 2016