In Gaelic games, sightings of change jerseys have tended to be rare over the years, but with a growing awareness of commercialism, they have become more common.
The fact that there are fewer than 40 counties competing in the various national competitions (32 counties in Ireland plus foreign ‘counties’ like New York, London and Warwickshire) means that instances of clashing are limited. Added to that has been a mindset that a change shirt should only be worn if absolutely necessary, so there have been games like this one.
However, in the ‘current’ (i.e. yet to be abandoned but unlikely to be finished) national league season, in both hurling and football, Cork have managed the feat of wearing three different jerseys in consecutive games.
In terms of the Irish War of Independence, 1920 was a stand-out year where Cork was concerned and the centenary of a tumultuous 12 months was marked with the creation of a special black shirt, featuring images of two men who died in 1920 while holding the title of Lord Mayor of Cork, Tomás Mac Curtain and Terence McSwiney, as well as the Kilmichael Ambush and burning of Cork by British forces.
That jersey was worn in two home games, when the hurling team played Limerick at the end of February and the footballers’ game against Derry a week later. However, prior to the Limerick match, the hurling team were away to Westmeath, who wear maroon, and they played in white alternative shirts while the football team had played in the same style for their clash with Down.
There was a special white goalkeeper shirt produced to be worn with the black kit, but, for the football game against Derry, that would have clashed with the visitors’ kit and so goalkeeper Anthony Casey wore the blue back-up goalkeeper top with black shorts and red and white socks (he is one of the few who wears his socks up, whereas nowadays most players wear socks that stop at the calf).
That means that, since the beginning of 2019, Cork senior goalkeepers have worn eight different kit combinations. Football netminders have tended to favour red shorts, while there were a number of games last year where the white outfield change shirt was used as a goalkeeper top ahead of the normal hooped version.