Sefton Doctor Who ?

Dr O'Sullivan

Written and researched by David Bohl, with the kind help of  historians world wide.

Played 1920-21



Bidston beat Sefton A in a hard-fought game on the latter's ground by a goal and two tries (11 points) to a try (3 points). In the first half Sefton were superior in attack and Perrin scored a try. There would have been more scoring but for some resolute tackling by Parry, the Bidston full-back. In the second half, however, Bidston improved, and tries were scored by Galloway, Price, and Woodward, the latter also converting.

The visiting three-quarters were a better lot than Sefton's in that their handling was much superior and their running stronger, while Price and Poe showed a good understanding. Among the forwards Pavillard, A. Taylor and Cooper were prominent. Dr. O'Sullivan, at full-back for Sefton, played a sterling game, and in the second half undoubtedly saved his side from defeat. Bayliss gave his rear division the ball on numerous occasions, only to see it lost through faulty handling. The home forwards were outplayed in the loose, but worked hard, especially Perrin and Ledger. During the scrums the ball was rarely brought out cleanly, a general fault of second-class rugger.

Teams.-Sefton A: Dr. O'Sullivan; Thompson, Millington, Hudson, Davey; Bayliss, M'Gibbon; Ledger, Perrin. Williams, J. A. Cass, Rimmer, Mackenzie, Martinez, Jenkins.
Bidston-Parry; Burns, Ellam, Woodward, Galloway; Price, Poe; Cooper, Hudson, Pavillard. Williams, Rylls, H. Taylor, A. Taylor, Hinson.
Result:- Bidston 11 points, Sefton A. 3 points.

Daily Post 4/4/21


So Who Was He ?

Dr O'Sullivan's Casebook is firmly locked at present with scant details to identify him. The Committee Minutes have left us with just three possible keys.

Committee Meeting held at Hare and Hounds Hotel, West Derby 20.1.21
The following new members were elected.
Dr O'Sullivan proposed
Dr Rumjahn

Committee Meeting held at Hare and Hounds Hotel November 25th 1921

The resignations of the following were accepted

Dr O'Sullivan (returned to Ireland)
The resignation of Dr O'Sullivan was accepted with real regret.

To summarise, he was an Irish doctor, arrived in January 1921, departed in say December of that year and was held in high esteem by members of the club.
Throughout his association with the Sefton he is always referred to as plain "Dr O'Sullivan", no first name at all, did he prefer running almost incognito ?
The dates are extremely significant in terms of the volatile politics of Ireland, especially for the medical profession, in the post-WW1 period.
A few chapters of a book entitled "Medicine, Health and Irish Experiences of Conflict 1914-45" set out the problems that may have encompassed him.

[Civilian doctors who had not participated in the war often admitted that they were not au fait with the treatment of gunshot wounds. In May 1919, Dan Breen, Ned O'Brien and Jimmie Scanlon, three members of the IRA's East Limerick Brigade, were shot and wounded while rescuing another member of their brigade from the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC). A local doctor, William Hennessy, was sent for to treat the wounded. Hennessy arrived and, after finishing his treatment, admitted that he had 'done his best for the wounded men but that he did not know very much about wounds'. Breen subsequently required further medical treatment from other doctors.
While the IRA sought the medical experience of doctors who had been in the British Army medical services, their assistance was not always offered. Although some held sympathy for republicanism, others were staunchly attached to the Union and may have deplored the levels of violence being used to secure national independence. On 15 February 1921, the IRA attacked a train carrying British soldiers at Upton, Co. Cork. The train was carrying approximately fifty soldiers of the Essex Regiment. During the shoot-out on the train, two IRA volunteers were killed, one was fatally wounded and two others were badly wounded. The local dispensary doctor in Enniskean refused to attend the Brigade OC and the other wounded men. The IRA arrested the doctor, who is listed in the 1921 Medical Directory as Dr T. J. Coakley, and tried him by court-martial. They found him guilty and ordered that he leave Ireland within twenty-four hours. Coakley departed to Liverpool.
The Irish Civil War, 1922-23
While ex-RAMC doctors' role in the War of Independence was somewhat secretive and carried out under the radar of the British Army and RIC, their involvement in the Irish Civil War was official and publicly recognised. During the interwar years Irish doctors continued to enlist in the RAMC. However, for those who wished to return to Ireland, there was an opportunity to continue their army work in the newly formed Irish National Army. Established in January 1922, it was the official army of the Irish Free State and operated under the control of Michael Collins, its Chief of Staff until his death in August 1922]
[ Extract from Medicine, Health and Irish Experiences of Conflict 1914-45 edited by David Durnin and Ian Miller]

A likely candidate may be Dr 
Éamon O’Sullivan(1896-1966) who was involved with Gaelic football in the 1920's. The Kerryman, known as ‘The Doc’, trained his native county to eight All-Ireland titles over five decades (1924, 1926, 1937, 1946, 1953, 1955, 1959 and 1962).

[Photo and narrative from UCD and the Sigerson by Irial Glynn]

See the glowing references   Dr Eamon O'Sullivan

Dr Crokes

See youtube clip  Dr Eamon O'Sullivan history

Perhaps when the 1921 Census is published more will come to light.

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