Hero photograph
Photo by Kathryn Eagle

St Bede’s set to defend O’Sullivan Cup

Kevin O'Sullivan —

On Saturday 2 July the St Bede's 1st XV will take on Timaru Boy's High School at home, to defend a special Cup steeped in history.

The O’Sullivan Cup was presented by the O’Sullivan family descendants in 2021 in recognition of a century of connection between the two schools. The first rugby match between the two schools was played on 23 June 1921 in Timaru – St Bede’s won 11 – 5. The same year the first of the O’Sullivan’s (Eugene) from South Canterbury attended St Bede’s.

One hundred and one years later over fifty descendants have attended St Bede’s College.

The strong Irish Catholic family connection with St Bede’s dates back to the last quarter of the 19th century. Ten O’Sullivan siblings migrated from Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland to Waimate, South Canterbury between 1875 and 1898.

From the first generation arrivals Denis, Eugene, Julia, and Johanna O’Sullivan their children and grandchildren passed through the gates at St Bede’s.

Over 40 O’Sullivan’s are on the St Bede’s register as are their cousins of the Gorman, Richards, and Fox families.

For over fifty years the family members journeyed to board at St Bede’s, traveling by train. Over the past several decades the southern connection has somewhat loosened. In recent generations members of the O’Sullivan family has attended Timaru Boy’s High School making this inter-school rugby fixture even more poignant.

Come the first Saturday in July it is anticipated that there will be a large contingent of O’Sullivan descendants attending the 1st XV rugby fixture at the College. St Bede’s will be defending the O’Sullivan Cup having won the 2021 match by 37 – 16 in Timaru.

O’Sullivan Cup presented to St Bede’s captain Mason Alison by Kevin O’Sullivan 1964-66 (centre) and Leon O’Sullivan 1953-55 (right) at School Park,Timaru in 2021. — Image by: Kathryn Eagle