Great one-offs – Cork City and Dundalk, 1990
- For a more recent strange kit situation involving Cork City and Dundalk, see here
A record that can’t be broken, only equalled: a set of shirts worn once, by two different clubs, against each other, on consecutive weeks.
The first instance is straightforward: on November 11, 1990, Cork City travelled to face Dundalk in the League of Ireland Premier Division. Having changed from green and white hooped shirt to primarily white tops a year and a half previously, a change kit was needed against the Lilywhites and so City used the occasion to premier a new jersey.
Having had an Arsenal-style red with white sleeves since 1998, their new alternative was similar to that of Brazilian side Fluminense and was worn with red shorts and the home socks in a 0-0 draw.
The Premier Division format usually oscillates between 12 teams with three rounds of fixtures and ten with four (barring a period in the mid-1990s where, after two rounds, the 12 split into two sixes, who would play each other twice more).
When it’s 12 teams, each round of fixtures is usually played in the same order but, back in the early 90s, there was a slight kink in that what should have been the final game of the second round – i.e. game 22 – was played as the 11th fixture, with teams meeting each other again the following week.
So it was that Dundalk came to Turner’s Cross on November 18 but, whether they thought that the red and green was City’s new kit or they just made a packing mistake, they only had their white and black home strip with them.
According to The Cork Examiner, “kick-off had been delayed for five minutes while Dundalk changed into Cork City’s colourful away strip”, though they retained their home shorts and socks.
That game finished level too, Cork City’s Scottish loanee John Butler scoring a late equaliser for a 1-1 draw, and the sides remained in close proximity at the top of the table for the rest of the season.
The next time City would need a change kit would be away to Shamrock Rovers’ green and white hoops in January, but, presumably because of the amount of green on the striped kit, they were red shirts with a white pattern – seen in the background here – which became known as the ‘pigeon shit’ kit.
That wasn’t too popular either, meaning that the Arsenal style returned in 1991-92 and was also used in 92-93, meaning it had a five-year lifespan. In 1993, City introduced a new home kit in green, white and red stripes which wasn’t a million miles from the 1990 away (though the half-striped shorts were questionable).
Meanwhile, the 90-91 season ended with Dundalk coming to Turner’s Cross on the final day with both sides level on 50 points from 32 games (two points for a win). This time, they remembered their red away strip and Tom McNulty’s goal gave them the win and the title.