Occasionally though, problems are dealt with quite well – even if the end result can appear a little confusing.
In 2002, the Donegal and Meath county teams were drawn together in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. In Gaelic games terms, it was a half-clash and such meetings often go ahead without a change. This time, however, it was determined that the sides should wear alternatives.
The rules were that both counties should change, but in this instance that wouldn’t have helped.
Donegal had not had to wear a second kit in the championship since a 1998 game against Antrim – they tended to favour green with a gold hoop, which had been the first-choice strip up until 1992 – while Meath had a reversal of their usual green (sock-clashes were not an issue as most players wore theirs down – indeed nowadays many players wear special midi-socks).
Donegal did have to change in the national league (a competition secondary to the championship) earlier in 2002 – but due to a mix-up they had had to wear Roscommon’s kit. The solution this time was to call on an old method.
Up until 2001, championship run on a system where the winners of each of the four provincial titles (Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster) qualified for the All-Ireland semi-finals. With few intra-provincial colour-clashes, the established way of dealing with colour-clashes in the semi-finals or final was that the counties would wear their provincial colours.
In rugby, Connacht wear green, Leinster blue, Munster red and Ulster white but in Gaelic games the colours are different. Connacht’s colours are white and blue with Munster’s blue and white.
And, pertinent to this article, Leinster’s are green and white while Ulster’s are saffron and black. In 1990 – when their jerseys were more of a direct clash – Donegal and Meath had worn those colours in an All-Ireland semi-final.
By 2002, it meant that they faced each other in something close to their usual primary shades but with different accent colours.
Blue was often a favoured back-up goalkeeper colour for Meath and was used here.
The set provided to Donegal included a white goalkeeper top but their number 1 Tony Blake opted to wear the white jersey that matched their normal jersey.
Donegal did wear a provincial-coloured change jersey on a few more occasions in the 2000s but now they have settled on white or green for their alternative jerseys. This game – a two-point win for Donegal – that Meath have worn Leinster’s green and white rather than their own green and gold.