The late Pat O’Sullivan. Photo: Sean Byrne.
There was widespread sadness in the wider GAA community but particularly in Ballygunner at the news yesterday (Monday) that Pat O’Sullivan, for many years the identifiable face of the Ballygunner Club, had passed to his eternal reward, in the peaceful surroundings of his home after months of a brave battle with a terminal illness.
Pat O’Sullivan will be greatly missed by all who knew him and particularly by his immediate family and the Ballygunner club which would also have been considered family to him. ‘Sully’, for that was how he was identified far and wide, was a man of many parts, a graduate of Ballygunner National School under his tutor, principal James McGinn and, as he often said himself, a graduate of The University of Life.
When the Ballygunner club was founded in 1954 by James McGinn, Pat O’Sullivan was in from the start as a member of a great group off young hurlers fostered out of the National School by Mr. McGinn brought on through the City Juvenile Leagues to take the County Minor Hurling title at the first time of asking in 1954. Sully was there through Ballygunner’s great days of the sixties during which time he served as a selector for the county senior hurling team. Though his budding building business interests was time consuming he never lost touch with his local club or community and as his family grew up they all became immersed in the club as players, mentors and officials.
It was Sully’s drive, enthusiasm and business acumen that played a huge part in Ballygunners advance to where it is today with the procurement and development of the club grounds and top class facilities it enjoys. He considered it his greatest honour to be Chairman and then President of his beloved club and he took great pride in his sons and grandsons winning numerous titles with Ballygunner and playing for Waterford down the years and of course his daughters and grand daughters whose exploits on the camogie field with Gaultier, St. Angelas and Waterford gave him tremendous satisfaction in recent times and throughout his illness. He always freely admitted that the hurling in his family resulted from his keen eye in selecting Lillian Howlett of Griffith Place, herself a great camogie player of her era, as his life partner.
Pat O’Sullivan was one of life’s great characters. A man of a generous disposition as many in the community can attest to, great company at games and in the aftermath. To Lilian, his daughters, Karen, Clara and Gail, Sons Billy, Rory, Darragh, Patrick and Shane, their families and Pat’s brother Billy, his sisters Moira, Peggy and Rosemary and their families we extend our sincerest sympathy.