Cork GAA Jersey Wars: Bishopstown v UCC

Your votes will decide which club geansaí goes into the next round
Cork GAA Jersey Wars: Bishopstown v UCC

Pa Cronin, Bishopstown, takes on Dara O'Brien, UCC. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

WE want to know what your favourite GAA geansaí is.

From here until the end of August, your votes will decide the best design in our Cork GAA Jersey Wars competition.

Our resident jersey expert Denis Hurley compiled a list of 32 clubs, based on those involved in the senior tiers and a selection of wild cards. We put them in alphabetical order and paired them up, number three versus 30, which is Bishopstown-UCC, and mapped out the path to the final. 

Full details of the competition are here.

Voting will run from 8am each day for 24 hours on the link below:

BISHOPSTOWN

In soccer, shirts of a dark red hue tend to be called ‘claret’ and are generally paired with light blue – think Aston Villa, Burnley or West Ham in England, or Cobh Ramblers or Drogheda United closer to home.

In GAA, though, maroon is the nomenclature usually deployed. One-sixteenth of the counties in Ireland wear the colour (Galway and Westmeath) but its sightings at club level are not all that plentiful – leaving aside Youghal, who have liberal doses of gold on their jersey, plain maroon in Cork is limited to Argideen Rangers, Freemount, Muintir Bháire, Rockchapel and, at senior level, Bishopstown.

One of the younger clubs in the county, the club representing the western suburb was established in 1957 but quickly set about laying down strong foundations. In 1980, the Town were the only Cork club honoured as part of the AIB Club of the Year scheme, honoured for strong work with younger players.

Having initially played games at ‘the Bog Field’ adjacent to the SMA Centre in Wilton, Bishopstown benefited when Cork County Board purchased land off Model Farm Road in 1963, taking up tenancy on part of the property, and a decade on from that they began developing a 12-acre plot of land for a sports and recreational complex.

Johnny Crowley was the club’s first star, winning five All-Ireland senior hurling medals with Cork between 1976 and 1986 as well as helping the Town to get on the first rung of the hurling ladder in Cork with the 1977 county junior title.

By that stage, the 1974 IFC had been won and when Cork won the All-Ireland senior double in 1990, Paul McGrath and Barry Coffey were part of the successful side. Unfortunately, county senior championship success has been elusive up to now – in football, the club came close in 2002 and 2004, losing to Nemo Rangers and Carbery respectively, while premier senior football status was lost at the end of 2020.

Bishopstown's Shane O'Neill rises for the ball against Sam Guilfoyle of Erin's Own. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Bishopstown's Shane O'Neill rises for the ball against Sam Guilfoyle of Erin's Own. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

In hurling, the Town made it to senior with a premier intermediate triumph in 2006 and then, with a team backboned by players who had won county minor titles in 2003 and 2004 and U21 in 2006 and 2007, they made it to the senior hurling decider in 2012 but were beaten by Sarsfields.

Like so many other clubs, Bishopstown have worn O’Neills kit for much of their history though, like Galway in the 1980s and 1990s, there was a stint wearing Connolly strips. Most recently, they are clad in outfits provided by McKeever Sports, a relatively new player in the market, based in Armagh. Bishopstown Credit Union sponsors the senior team.

UCC

The first reaction on seeing a University College Cork jersey might be to wonder if they’re sponsored by Long John Silver or Bluebeard, but the famous skull-and-crossbones motif on the club’s kits outdates brand logos by 80 years.

According to UCC’s website, “the skull and crossbones have been seen at UCC as far back as 1880-81. In late Victorian times, UCC, then known as Queen’s College Cork, was mostly a medical school and the junior doctors who played for the university’s rugby club, fittingly, used a skull and crossbones as the symbol for their team.

“In later years, other clubs in the university also started to wear the skull and crossbones. The GAA clubs adopted the logo in the mid-1910s and the hockey club has been pictured using it since 1929.

“The skull and crossbones have been officially copyrighted since 1999 and the UCC jersey is a much sought-after garment among students, players, and alumni, both home and abroad.”

Another UCC medical student made his sporting mark with what is thought to be the first instance of a helmet in hurling.

After Micheál Murphy suffered a fractured skull while playing, he sought protective measures and he played in the 1966 county hurling final with a motorbike helmet, before later employing an ice-hocket helmet.

A teammate of Murphy’s was Paddy Crowley, who also wore a helmet from early in his career and later went on to help create Mycro Sportswear, which is now the country’s main producer of helmets.

The famed red and black of UCC has enjoyed much success in the inter-varsity Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cup competitions, while the club has also claimed 10 county senior football championships and two hurling titles.

The most recent football win came in 2011 and the last before that was in 1999, when the club almost won the double, with Blackrock denying them in the hurling decider.

Robbie O'Flynn of UCC during the Fitzgibbon Cup final. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Robbie O'Flynn of UCC during the Fitzgibbon Cup final. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

That year, perhaps because of the fact that both sides had long runs, the football team wore the second kit, of white jersey with a red hoop, but in recent years, College have opted for a reversal of the traditional kit when an alternative is needed: Black with a red hoop.

Like some other notable names in Cork GAA, UCC have recently swapped O’Neill’s kits for McKeever and this year’s championship will be the debut for the new threads, as the suspension of the Fitz and Sigerson has meant sporting inactivity since last September’s epic senior hurling semi-final loss to the Rockies.

Nowadays, Bank of Ireland’s logo adorns the jerseys just below the skull and crossbones, though, once upon a time, UCC tended to be sponsored by hostelries frequented by the student body, such as the Washington Inn and the dearly departed Western Star.

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