Alan O'Sullivan - Housemaster Moberly's

August 17th, 2010

Though Ryan was deservedly a major Sport Scholar at Clifton he was far more than a gifted sportsman. He was academically strong and with his A* in Maths secured last November I anticipated him achieving a set of outstanding GCSE results this summer. He understood perfectly that though his sport was important, he was at school to achieve academically and in fact he was always at his very best at school when he was on top of things academically. I saw Ryan as straight A’s at A level followed by an application to a university one level down from Oxbridge. If you listen to his performances on the website you can see why many thought Ryan was so highly thought of as a singer and I was certainly looking forward to a time when he would organise one of the Moberly’s groups whether it be our “Part Song” or Unison. He was also a boy who could act and I knew that he would have played an increasing part in this area of school life in the 6th form. So Ryan was a true all rounder and not just a Sport Scholar. He put his mark on all areas of school life and it is for this reason plus of course his big personality that his sudden death has affected so many and why we have seen such a big outpouring of grief.

In Moberly’s Ryan was a “big player” who straddled all the year groups and who was destined to become one of the leaders next year as he entered the 6th form. He was in a strong year group and thus it was not going to be easy, but I always saw him as a future Head of House, as increasingly he managed his relationships with his peers and the younger boys in a way that led me to believe he could be good in that role. He was a natural leader who learnt over time that others needed to be encouraged and happy, he still had the edge that made him the character he was, but it was now directed in a positive way and all the typical adolescent jostling for supremacy had petered out. Ryan had established his position in the House and was about to live the rewards of such. His friends were extremely loyal to him and though often shattered by the end of term as a result of having to engage in all manner of dialogue after lights out, they were certainly not going to moan to me about such (in fact the characters he shared with got to enjoy it).

His achievements on a school level will be documented elsewhere, but in the House aside from his singing, I can vividly remember Ryan ensuring we won Junior Hockey when we should not have, basically he drove the other boys to be better than what they really were and would not allow us to be beaten in “his game” after Max and Lloyd especially had ensured we won in their game. Ryan was seriously determined to win and he learnt a great deal about leadership that day. Water polo became one of his favourite sports and he scored a number of vital goals in the senior event this year when two years young. This sport really appealed to him as it needed skill, strength, fitness and character especially in the longer matches. An unbeaten 50 in the junior cricket final last summer, goals in the Junior football last Lent and great performances in the Pens right up to a superb run in the event this year, only days before his death are testimony to his sporting excellence and drive for the House. I can also say that whenever the draw for House pool competition came out I would hope to avoid him as he was typically good at that, winning the competition this year. However rugby, though not his favourite or best sport provides me with some of my best memories of Ryan as much for his character as anything else. Firstly he was the ultimate competitor in the “Bell runs” and loved the concept of some giving up in front of their peers, while other less talented people would not give up as a matter of pride and respect, again it taught him a big lesson about attitude and strength of mind. Secondly the match against Marlborough in the 4th form where he played in the B’s and won the match with two tries. We spoke before it and there was no self pity or false pride just a total determination to make a point, which he obviously did. Lastly our game this year against Blundells. Ryan due to hockey and the odd injury was not always available to play, but when he was, I decided he would come with us and Sub for the A’s. Well the decision was justified when in terrible conditions away against a strong side who had beaten them the year before, the Senior Colts ‘A’ lost Will Watson to injury early on. The wind was blowing a gale and the conditions for a fullback were a nightmare. On comes Ryan after hardly playing for weeks and within minutes he had settled and was doing all I told him to. We won the game comfortably in the end, but for a period we were in trouble and it was having a boy like Ryan with his temperament and all round sporting excellence that helped us through some tough times in that first half.

Ryan like all people of his age made mistakes, but more importantly I always felt that once you had informed him of where he had got things wrong he always really listened and learnt, you could have a row, but a day latter there would never be any lingering issue, in other words you could treat him like a “grown up” and our relationship was very strong for that reason. So all round sporting ability, but more importantly all round ability full stop, that was Ryan Bresnahan and we will all miss him enormously in Moberly’s, but more importantly we will also remember what a big character, achiever and contributor he was and what fun he was to be around.

Alan O’Sullivan
Housemaster Moberly’s