In the League of Ireland, kit problems never seem to be too far away. One might suggest that the LOI abbreviation might be better styled as Lesson Often Ignored.
For example, in 2007, Bray Wanderers clashed with two clubs in the Premier Division, Cork City and Shamrock Rovers. City wore green and white stripes that season while the Hoops were clad in their usual…hoops. Somehow, though, Bray were allowed to have a change kit of white shirts and green shorts.
When Bray made the trip to play Rovers in June of that year, both sides were in their away strips owing to a league rule which stated that the home team had to change if the referee wasn’t happy with the proposed kits. In August, Bray travelled to Cork but City refused to change and, as a compromise, Bray wore the Rebel Army’s away shirts with their own shorts and socks. Because they had technically broken the rule, though, Cork City were issued with a €1,000 fine.
Later that year, there were shenanigans before a Dundalk-Shelbourne game over goalkeeper strips and, on the opening night of the following season, the same referee caused a hold-up ahead of the St Patrick’s Athletic v Sligo Rovers match. In 2012, Cork City’s dark green home was deemed to be too close to Shamrock Rovers’ black away, so the home team wore red.
At the beginning of the 2016 season in March, your humble correspondent tried to contact the league, offering to create graphics each week, illustrating what each team and goalkeeper would wear, in a bid to ensure that no such problems arose. The idea was similar to what Arsenal have been doing for the past few seasons:
The person in the media department eventually replied, saying that the competitions department should be contacted and email addresses were supplied for three different people. At the time of writing, none of the three have replied.
And yet, the problems continue. In the second round of games, Longford Town were forced to wear their yellow away kit at home to St Patrick’s Athletic as Pat’s red home and navy change strips clashed with Longford’s usual red and black stripes.
Drogheda United have a claret and sky blue home and a navy and sky blue away and that too has been problematic. UCD had to switch from sky blue to white…
…Drogs wore Waterford United’s away kit…
…and in the most recent set of games, Athlone Town were forced to swap their black and blue for orange.
The Bray-Bohemians game in April was also problematic. This season, Bray’s home is green and black stripes, but Bohs – normally red and black stripes – have a green away, so again we saw an away kit at home (thanks to @PaddayF for bringing this one to our attention).
Little wonder, then, that fans of League of Ireland teams like to ironically use the hashtag #greatestleagueintheworld when mishaps occur. Our offer remains open, but we’re not all that optimistic about its uptake.