Tomorrow night, Friday, April 27th, sees Cork City and Dundalk go head-to-head, with the sides level on points at the top of the League of Ireland Premier Division after 12 games.
The pair have been the leading duo over the past four seasons, with Dundalk winning three titles in a row before City were victorious last year, while they have also met in the three most recent FAI Cup finals, Dundalk completing a double in 2015 while City have claimed the last two, including a double of their own in 2017.
Prior to the establishment of this rivalry, Dundalk were second in 2013, so you have to go back six years for the last time the top two featured neither. That 2012 campaign began with 12 teams but Monaghan United pulled out after 14 games, with Dundalk finishing 11th but retaining their status after a promotion/relegation play-off win over Waterford, while City were sixth in their first season back in the top flight.
It is a game between the sides in September of that season that we focus on, featuring something we haven’t witnessed in a game before or since.
On a very wet night at City’s home of Turner’s Cross, they took the lead through David O’Neill inside three minutes but Dundalk responded with goals from Michael Rafter and Gary Shanahan before O’Neill equalised with the game not yet 15 minutes old.
City were in their normal green home kit, while Dundalk oddly had their yellow away socks on – while City had some white on theirs, it wouldn’t seem enough to cause a clash and, in any case, Dundalk had a black set.
It remained 2-2 until half-time, with the rain worsening, if anything, so much so that both teams changed shirts at half-time, into their away sets.
City’s alternative was the same template as the home, with the red and green swapped – it was the first time since 2007 that they had played a game with their shorts and socks a different colour from their shirts.
Dundalk’s change strip no doubt took its cues from their sponsors, banana importer Fyffes. Whereas the yellow socks were the jarring part of the kit in the first half, now the black shorts were mismatching as they created a record of wearing two mashups in the one game.
The goal-rate in the second half wasn’t as frantic as the first, with just one more goal, scored by City’s Vinny Sullivan five minutes into the second half.