In 1998, Wexford rejoined forces with O’Neills, having had Connolly Sportswear kits for the previous five years, a period taking in the 1996 All-Ireland hurling championship win.
The new strip (below left) was a special design featuring a symbol on the sleeves to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the 1798 Rebellion, with which the county had strong links. For 1999, the shirt was largely unchanged (below right) but had different sleeves (note the slightly darker shade of gold on the sleeves – O’Neills used different materials for body and sleeves to allow for sublimation but on occasion the colours failed to match).
However, after just a year, there was another change and this one was more dramatic as O’Neills began to generally push the boat out on counties’ kits. For the first time since the 1920s, the design was significantly altered as gold side panels intruded on the traditional solid purple lower part of the jersey, while navy trim was added.
It was not a popular change though and, for 2001, the base design remained the same but the gold panels were coloured purple to make the shirt look more like a classic Wexford top.
Oddly though, it was this change which was the basis for an article in a national newspaper in May 2001, one which failed to properly recognise the nuance behind the alteration – as well as carrying a picture of the jersey that had been replaced.
One other difference for 2001 that was dictated by this new situation was with regard to the Wexford goalkeeper jersey. Traditionally, gold had been used, but because of the large amounts of gold on the 2000 outfield shirt, purple was used for the keepers (below left). With the ratio restored for 2001, gold and white were the new options (below centre and right respectively).
Wexford didn’t wear a change kit during this stint with O’Neills, though the 2002 match against Clare would have benefited from greater contrast.
At the beginning of 2003, Wexford entered into a deal with newly established kit manufacturer Gaelic Gear. This time, history and tradition were given short shrift, with the purple on the new jersey more like pink.
After Gaelic Gear’s collapse, Wexford were back with O’Neills for 2006, but in the time since there has been no jersey that could be said to represent the county’s classic design – in 2012, a prototype surfaced featuring such a look but the response was not positive.