Pride in the (changed) jersey


Pride in the (changed) jersey

Meath's victory against Offaly last Sunday came while playing in their change jerseys of gold. Here we look at other famous occasions when counties donned colours other than their traditional ones.

Sligo (2001)

For years, the Sligo outfit was white shirts and black shorts, but when drawn against Kildare in the 2001 All-Ireland qualifiers, the Yeats County lost the toss and had to line out in an all-black kit.

Following their famous 0-16 to 0-15 win against the previous year's Leinster champions, Sligo returned to Croke Park for the next round as they were drawn against Dublin. In a bid to replicate the Kildare victory, Sligo tried to repeat everything that they had done for that game, including staying in the same hotel and wearing the black jerseys.

That drew a £500 fine for not wearing their registered colours but the change didn't seem to help them too much anyway as Dublin won easily. The following year, Sligo's official colours were changed from white to black and they have worn that ever since.

Donegal (1992)

Like their north-western neighbours, Donegal also ended up retaining their change kit after wearing it following a clash of colours.

Up until 1992, Donegal wore a Kerry-like strip of green with a gold hoop and won that year's Ulster title wearing that configuration. The All-Ireland Semi-Final pitted them against Mayo however, necessitating a change on the part of both teams.

Having worn the Ulster colours of amber and black two years previously against Meath and lost, this time around Donegal felt it better to wear their traditional colours in a different arrangement, mainly gold jerseys with green sleeves and shorts.

Whether it was because of the kit or the players wearing it, Donegal won that match (now more remembered for the game being delayed due to a crossbar breaking and having to be repaired) and kept the new strip for the Final against Dublin, winning the county's first and only All-Ireland.

Nowadays, mainly gold jerseys with green trim are Donegal's first choice, the green with gold hoop is seen in games against Antrim, while the Ulster colours have been worn in games against Leitrim and Kerry in recent years.

Meath (1996)

When Meath met Mayo in the knockout stages of the Football National League in 1996, the Royal County wore its usual change strip of gold jerseys with green trim, a reversal of its usual outfit.

By the time the two counties had advanced the All-Ireland Final some months later though, it was felt that the colour clash was not serious enough to warrant big changes, with Meath's green shorts the only concession made.

Both sides in predominantly-green jerseys made for confusion, however. "There are some lads that would never put a pass astray," said Meath manager Sean Boylan some years later.

"But the first day against Mayo, we were noticing that these same lads were giving inch-perfect passes - to Mayo lads! It took us a while to twig why, that the similarity of the jerseys was the problem, so we changed for the replay."

That meant the gold jerseys returning (apparently Mayo were asked to change to red but refused), and Meath, helped by their players being able to pick out team-mates, were victorious, the last team to win a senior All-Ireland in an alternative kit.

Offaly (1982)This is quite possibly the most famous change kit in the history of the GAA, as a result of the events of September 16, 1982.

Kerry and Offaly were actually fairly familiar with each other by this stage, having met in the All-Ireland Semi-Final of 1980 and the decider in the following year.

The first time out, Kerry wore the blue of Munster while Offaly were turned out in a white strip with vertical green and gold stripes down the left-hand side of their jerseys (their meeting in 1972 saw Kerry again in blue with Offaly wearing what was a clever variation of their usual colours - green shirts, white shorts and gold socks).

A year later, Kerry had changed to mainly green tops with gold shoulders and sleeves combined with green shorts while Offaly had modified their kit too, the green and gold stripes now travelling over the shoulders of the jerseys.

By 1982, Kerry again tinkered - this time looking like Meath in plain green jerseys with gold collars and cuffs and white shorts.

Offaly kept the design of 1982, and thanks to Seamus Darby, the strip became so iconic that the design more or less remained the basis of all Offaly alternative jerseys for the next 25 years.

Cork (1919)

Another case of a change of colours becoming permanent, but this time it had nothing to do with a clash of colours, more a clash of cultures.

In 1919 as Cork were preparing to play Dublin in the All-Ireland Hurling Senior Final, British soldiers raided the county board offices at 20 Maylor St and, among other things, seized the Cork jerseys - which were then blue with large gold 'C' on the front of them.

At short notice, the Cork County Board were forced to borrow a red set from the Fr O'Leary Temperance Association Team.

Cork, with captain Jimmy Kennedy scoring four goals and having two more disallowed, triumphed over Dublin on a scoreline of 6-4 to 2-4 and the legend of the 'blood and bandage' was born as the red and white kit was permanently retained.