League of Ireland Kit of The Week – Drumcondra, 1950s
The colours of the League of Ireland clubs are a strange mix.
Claret (or maroon) and blue, seen on Drogheda United, Cobh Ramblers and Galway United, are perhaps over-represented while green and white are constants with Shamrock Rovers, Cork City, Bray Wanderers and Cabinteely.
Two clubs out of 20 – Bohemians and Longford Town – have red and black stripes, red and white in various patterns adorn Derry City, Sligo Rovers, St Patrick’s Athletic and Shelbourne, and blue and white can be seen on Limerick, Waterford and Finn Harps.
That leaves Dundalk (white and black), UCD (sky blue), Athlone Town (blue and black) and Wexford (pink and black). Not since the demise of Kilkenny City just over a decade ago has yellow/amber/gold been a first-choice, but one of the country’s most successful mid-20th-century clubs were strongly associated with yellow and blue.
For people of this writer’s vintage, Tolka Park means Shelbourne, but once upon a time it was the home of Drumcondra – you can read about their rise and fall in this excellent article by Gerry Farrell.
Originally, Drums appeared in yellow and blue hoops with white shorts before switching to yellow shirts and blue shorts – according to Wikipedia (we know, we know) that change to a “European-style v-neck” came in 1954, but just before it, they wore something of an anachronistic shirt.
Laces had been popular around the turn of the century (and would be revived by Umbro in 1992) but they had fallen out of general use by the 1930s, superseded by buttons.
Nevertheless, they didn’t stop Drums winning the 1954 FAI Cup, beating St Pat’s in the final. Another cup win followed in 1957 and they won the league title in 1958, 1961 and 1965.
Just seven years after that, though, they would be the subject of a kind of reverse takeover by amateur side Home Farm. While the new entity’s name was Home Farm-Drumcondra for a while, the Drumcondra part didn’t last long.
Two Leinster Senior League clubs, Drumcondra AFC and Drumcondra Athletic, claimed to be the rightful successors of the LOI club but any differences of opinion were made moot as they merged in 2008.