GLEN ROVERS will hope to follow in the footsteps of the 2008 Sarsfields side in winning the Seán Óg Murphy Cup while wearing a change kit.
Sunday’s Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier SHC final pits the Glen against Blackrock.
The clubs’ famous colours are quite similar — the Rockies play in green and gold hoops while the Glen, formed in 1916, had intended to wear green, white and gold hoops – the same as Carbery Rangers in football – but instead they opted to replace the white with black in honour of those who had died in the fight for Irish independence.
For much of the 20th century, the rule in Cork regarding clashes was that the older club could retain its first-choice jerseys, forcing their younger opponents to change. As a result, Blackrock (formed in 1883) would stay in their usual, while the Glen would use the equally famous black and white hoops of their sister football club St Nicholas.
Four county finals saw the sides paired in the 70s, with the usual green/gold v black/white in the 1973 and ‘75 deciders. By the time both made it back to the final a year later though, the Glen sought to be allowed to wear their usual colours. They argued that the new set of jerseys purchased had wider hoops, allowing easier differentiation, and they offered to wear black shorts too.
The county board’s general purposes committee refused this request, however, and so the Glen ended up investing in a ‘proper’ set of change jerseys, gold with black and green trim, the look set off with black shorts and green socks. It didn’t do them any harm, as they avenged the loss of a year earlier.
The club’s last final meeting of the decade was in 1978. Again, the Glen were in the gold and black strip but this time Blackrock had to wear an alternative too, the ‘older club’ rule having been dispensed with. The Rockies, captained by the recently-deceased John Horgan, regained their title wearing Meath-style green jerseys with gold collars and cuffs, white shorts and gold socks with green tops.
While the 1990s weren’t that memorable for either club, they did meet in the 1998 semi-final and it was the same configuration as in 1978, green against gold, and this was the case again in 2004. Come 2008, though, while Blackrock were again in green, the Glen turned out in their normal shirts and black shorts – the look they hadn’t been allowed use in 1976.
By the time the clubs’ minors met in 2013, the Glen had procured a new alternative — wide black and green hoops, giving them a Nemo Rangers-esque look.
However, the 2014 senior quarter-final against Ballymartle — the same colours as Blackrock, green and gold hoops — saw another different arrangement of their hues. This time, it was effectively a Kerry jersey, green with a gold hoop, albeit with black sleeves, as Ballymartle wore black with green and gold trim.
In 2016, Blackrock and the Glen met in the opening round of the new county premier U21 hurling championship, the Rockies winning by 2-19 to 0-15. Prior to the game, both had been informed that change jerseys would be needed and neither had a problem in wearing them — the only problem was that they were too difficult to distinguish.
With Blackrock having entered into a sponsorship deal with the Mater Private private, their logo was applied to the green jerseys, but on a gold patch. That meant it was far too similar to the aforementioned Glen change offering, with the black sleeves the only real difference.
The next time that the Glen had to change for a high-profile game was the televised clash against Newtownshandrum in the 2019 senior championship, and they took to the field in an all-black look. This year, Blackrock were paired with Newtown in the group stage and, while they wore green change jerseys, this time the shade was so dark as to be almost black.
That meant that, when the city pair made it through to Sunday’s final, having both change wouldn’t have solved the problem and so the sensible decision was made to toss a coin, with the Rockies earning the right to stay in green and gold while the Glen will wear black.
Incidentally, the Sars 2008 side mentioned above didn’t change because they played another blue-shirted team in the final. They were drawn against Ballinhassig in that year’s opening round and wore a black change kit, opting to keep it for superstitious reasons, going all the way to a first title since 1957.
The black remained through the 2009 championship but, after defeat to Newtownshandrum in that year’s final, they returned to their usual blue with white hoop.