First off, congratulations to Maria Looney, the winner of our recent competition to win a Cork retro replica jersey courtesy of Órga Retro.
Maria, and many other readers, correctly answered that Esat Digifone succeeded Barry’s Tea as Cork’s shirt sponsors in 1997. Thank you to the large numbers who entered and hopefully we will be able to run similar competitions in the near future.
Incidentally, there was a brief period after the end of the 1997 senior inter-county hurling and football championships where the Barry’s Tea deal had ended and no new one had been agreed and it was during this time that Cork took on Galway in the All-Ireland U21 final.
It’s a significant game in that it featured quite a few players who would go on to win the Liam MacCarthy Cup under Jimmy Barry-Murphy in 1999 and in 2004 and 2005, but from a kit point of view it also stands out. Rather than leaving the front of the shirts blank, instead there was the word ‘Corcaigh’, using the same large ‘C’ as on the sleeves. It made the jerseys unique while at the same time calling to mind the iconic set used in the centenary All-Ireland hurling final in 1984.
If and when we do ever run a poll to find the best Cork jersey, it’s likely that that 1984 offering will feature strongly, but for now we’re focused on the best club kit and we’re delighted to announce that Rebel Jersey Wars will commence on Tuesday, July 20, running for four weeks.
We would have liked to have included every club jersey in the county and had a monster competition but unfortunately having more than 250 entrants would make things very difficult to run and so the starting field has been narrowed down to 32. All premier senior hurling and football clubs for 2021 are included (a total of 22 when the two dual clubs, Douglas and St Finbarr’s are accounted for), along with specially chosen other sides. Naturally, the selections won’t please everybody but, essentially, it was a case that we were looking for colour-combinations other than those catered for by the premier senior sides. As a result, these are the final 32 teams: Bandon, Ballincollig, Bishopstown, Blackrock, Bride Rovers, Carbery Rangers, Carrigaline, Carrigtwohill, Castlehaven, Charleville, Cill na Martra, Clonakilty, Douglas, Éire Óg, Erin’s Own, Fermoy, Glen Rovers, Ilen Rovers, Kanturk, Kiskeam, Mallow, Midleton, MTU Cork, Na Piarsaigh, Nemo Rangers, Newcestown, Newtownshandrum, Sarsfields, St Finbarr’s, UCC, Valley Rovers, Youghal.
The competition will run on a straight knockout basis with a last 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final, so we could have some titanic tussles and ‘it would have been a great final’ clashes but we should still end up with the fairest answer by the end and the title of the Best Club GAA Jersey in Cork.
Meanwhile, Cork County Board has confirmed the draws for the opening stages of the divisions and colleges sections of the premier senior hurling and football championships.
With Duhallow, UCC and MTU Cork seeded in the football and Imokilly and the two college sides seeded in the hurling, there is one place in each code up for grabs in the semi-final stages, which will take place in mid-September.
The hurling will commence on Wednesday, July 14 as Duhallow take on Muskerry in round one, with the winners then advancing to meet Seandun the following week. Last year, Duhallow were the only divisional side other than Duhallow to compete in the hurling competition.
The winner of the Seandun v Duhallow/Muskerry clash will move to the semi-finals, from where one team will emerge to go into the quarter-finals of the championship proper.
It’s a similar situation in the football, with two fixtures scheduled for July. On Tuesday, July 13, Muskerry do battle with Imokilly for the right to play Carbery the following week. In 2020, Carbery were the only division to enter the football apart from Duhallow, who went on to reach the semi-final stage. Beara had been due to take part but they had to give Duhallow a walkover at short notice. The West Cork side are not part of the 2021 edition.