Battle of the Bishops
Long-Standing History Between Schools Intensifies Rivalry
The McGuinness-Kelley rivalry has been a longstanding tradition at both schools since the 1960s, and though both schools have developed through the years, the rivalry has kept its intensity.
When Kelley first opened in 1960, the cross-state rivalry began when the football teams played that year. Kelley won that game 28 to 0, sparking an ongoing feud. A couple years later, the schools gained something tangible to play for, the Shillelagh stick, which increased the intensity of the football games.
“The Shillelagh was brought back from Ireland,” Principal David Morton said. “Then the schools decided to play for it.”
The rivalry got so intense that in the late 60s a fight broke out between students during the basketball game. This caused all the games between the two schools to be disbanded for about 10 years.
“They [McGuinness football team] had been undefeated but lost the game against Kelley and were very upset,” Morton said. “Some of the guys went to the game and a fight broke out in the stands.”
When the games were reinstated, the rivalry picked up as if nothing happened. As time went on, the sports programs at both schools developed, generating more sports teams. As these other sports teams started to play each other, the rivalry carried over, spreading the feud beyond football and increasing the intensity.
“They’re Tulsa’s best, and we’re Oklahoma City’s best,” senior football player Vincent Shivers said. “I’m just proving that we’re the best of the best.”
Today, the Kelley games are usually the most anticipated games for each sport, bringing a crowd of both students and alumni. With the long-lived history between the two, the games usually create a passionate environment filled with fiery cheers and high energy.
“The students are always way more involved in the Kelley game,” football coach Ryan Stringer said. “It’s always the biggest student section and the most fans come back and watch the game, so the environment is unmatched.”
Softball, football and volleyball have all already had their battle of the bishops. Volleyball played Kelley Sept. 20, losing in three sets. Football and softball both played on Sept. 9, football winning 35 to 3 and softball winning 11 to 3. With football earning a huge win, the Shillelagh stays home for the second year in a row.
“It’s been going on for years, and it’s going to keep going on for years just for the excitement of keeping the stick in Oklahoma City,” senior football captain Drew Chansolme said.