With the three white stripes along the shoulder-blade, the jersey is actually quite similar to the infamous adidas shirts used by the Cork footballers against Kerry in 1976, though the various logos and the marking of sponsors Chill Insurance — who have renewed their €400,000 a year deal until the end of 2022 — give it a modern look.
For a while in the mid-teens, Cork wore a saffron jersey with a blue hoop but later changed to a primarily blue top with a large gold ‘C’ on the front. This style was resurrected for a hurling league game against Kilkenny in 2016.
With no other team in Munster wearing red, change jerseys were rarely seen, though All-Ireland finals with Galway in 1953 (hurling) and ’56 (football) and Louth in 1957 (football) saw Cork in the blue of Munster.
The first major change to the kit came in the 1976 Munster football final replay, when the players arranged among themselves to wear jerseys made by Three Stripe International under licence from adidas.
No action was taken against the players but the following year, when adidas shorts were worn against Kerry, the football panel were suspended en masse from playing football (conveniently, dual players could still play hurling!), though the impasse was eventually resolved. Cork returned to playing in O’Neills gear, the jerseys becoming more modern throughout the 1980s, with white trim added.
That year also saw the crest added to the sleeves before a new style in 1994. O’Neills had introduced a design with stripes at the bottom of the sleeve and Cork sported this for two years.
Perhaps harking back to the original blue jerseys, the sleeves now featured a large white ‘C’ on them and ‘Corcaigh’ written on a white stripe underneath. Barry’s Tea were the sponsors for the first two years of this design, but the deal ended when Cork were knocked out of both championships.
Cork did this in 2004, adding Bandon Bridge and Shandon tower to the crest, while keeping the ship arriving into the harbour.
This new crest first appeared on the jersey launched that year, which featured a red collar for the first time. In 2006, the hurlers donned hooped socks for the first time in a number of decades as they fell agonisingly short of winning three in a row, before a new jersey appeared the following year.
A white reversal of that jersey was used for the All-Ireland final win over Down that year, with the Ulster side wearing saffron and black.