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Orla Finn turns her marker. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Orla Finn turns her marker. Picture: Howard Crowdy
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What Cork landmark would look the best on the GAA jersey?

WRITE about what you know, they said.

So it is that, after a weekend in which neither of the Cork senior men’s teams played and there were no county championship clashes, we turn to jerseys as the focus of the column. Rest assured though, it’s a three-pronged topical approach.

While the men weren’t in action though, both of the senior female Cork sides played, the camogie team beating Tipperary in the Munster final and the ladies’ football side starting their provincial campaign with an impressive victory over Waterford.

The new camogie jersey, sponsored by Blackbee, was launched recently. Like the men’s kit, it’s made by O’Neills and is similar but it’s arguable that it’s better. Whereas the bulk of the new jerseys made by the Dublin company have the three stripes stopping at the shoulders, the camogie top has raglan sleeves with the stripes continuing all the way.

Just for being that bit different, it stands out, while the treatment of the sponsor’s logo is also a plus.

BlackBee, the Cork-based investment firm, are the new camogie team sponsor. Picture: Miki Barlok
BlackBee, the Cork-based investment firm, are the new camogie team sponsor. Picture: Miki Barlok

In the interests of openness, we will point out here that we get motor and home insurance through Chill Insurance and have always been happy with the service. However, we feel that the intrusion of the large white box to house their logo on the Cork kit detracts from the visual and it would be better rendered white on red, as it is on the back.

Obviously, Chill were offering more money to have their corporate colours on display and the county board aren’t in a position to turn that down. Looking at the Blackbee (an investment firm) logo on the camogie jerseys though, it’s hard to say that it doesn’t fit better.

The ladies’ football team don’t have O’Neills but instead they have a deal with McKeever, who are able to provide adidas off-field gear through their GAA Store business. 

 Aisling Hutchings in the new ladies football gear. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Aisling Hutchings in the new ladies football gear. Picture: Howard Crowdy

On Sunday, they premiered their new kit and it’s a wonderful design, with two white racing stripes down the right-hand side of the shirt. It’s an excellent indication of how to add something to what is generally a steady design – red with white trim – without completely overhauling the look. Of course, both teams gain bonus points for having the classic Cork crest on their jerseys.

Also on Sunday, the Wexford hurlers travelled to Galway for their Leinster SHC round-robin clash and it was a case of Vinegar Hill coming to Salthill.

While their traditional look is of course a horizontal half-and-half design, Wexford currently wear purple jerseys with gold trim and Galway are generally clad in maroon and white, so a change was required – though, unsurprisingly, that hasn’t always been the case in the recent past – a league game a couple of years ago saw maroon v purple, with exactly the kind of confusion you’d expect.

Since the switch to solid purple, Wexford have favoured a gold alternative jersey, a simple reversal of the ‘home’ offering. However, the new change top, worn as they produced a fine comeback to earn a draw, looks to the county’s history.

The Battle of Vinegar Hill was a key part of the 1798 Irish Rebellion and the accompanying ‘Pikeman’ a symbol of that uprising. In 1998, to mark the 200th anniversary of the rebellion, the Wexford jersey carried a memorial on the sleeves and the current county crest, designed by Kevin Roche and chosen after a competition in 2006, ensured that the Pikeman and Vinegar Hill were commemorated in perpetuity. 

That design has new been transposed to be the body of the change shirt, which is accompanied by purple shorts.

Jack O'Connor catches the sliotar ahead of John Hanbury. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Jack O'Connor catches the sliotar ahead of John Hanbury. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

It’s good to see a county applying some thought to this, producing something bespoke which is uniquely associated with the county rather than just having a random pattern which doesn’t mean anything.

The new Cork men’s change jersey, worn away to Armagh in the football league, is quite nice, with a red panel across the shoulders, but if they were to follow Wexford’s lead, what landmark would be best incorporated? Shandon Bells, perhaps? Or would the Shaky Bridge be better, travelling across the chest? 

All-black with a white top, specially sponsored by Murphy’s or Beamish? The floor is open and suggestions are welcome.

The limited edition jersey Cork wore in 2016. Picture: David Maher/SPORTSFILE
The limited edition jersey Cork wore in 2016. Picture: David Maher/SPORTSFILE