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 eight versus 25, which is Carrigtwohill-Nemo, 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:
As Carrigtwohill’s ultimately successful quest to win the county minor hurling championship gained traction in 1998, one member of that panel, Kenneth Landers, composed the team’s anthem, which borrowed the air of Red is the Rose.
While it can’t be stated with certainty when the club first came into being – originally known as St Mary’s Hurling Club – a 1931 certificate of enrolment gives 1885 as the year of foundation.
While blue has featured on the jersey from the off, gold wasn’t always the complementary colour. A 1912 newspaper report of the Carrigtwohill tournament mentions a game between Rangers – one of the forerunners of Nemo Rangers – and Ballincollig, with the city side having left their jerseys on the train east.
According to the report, “the local seventeen [the reduction to 15-a-side was a few years off] had provided them with the well-known blue and green of Carrigtwohill but owing to the Ballincollig colours also being blue, it was decided to obtain the Cove jerseys, which were willingly given.”
On the pitch, Carrig were the winners of the second county junior hurling championship in 1896 – the first of five victories at that grade – while they claimed the inaugural intermediate title in 1909. Establishing themselves at senior, they claimed the top prize in Cork hurling by beating Blackrock in the final in 1918, when the jerseys were knitted by local nuns, and reached three more finals in 1932, 1933 – losing to St Finbarr’s on both occasions – and 1935, when they lost out to Glen Rovers.
Reminiscing of the 1933 final defeat, a member of the team, Tom Barry is recorded in A History of Gaelic Games in Carrigtwohill as saying: “I saw the ball in front of me near some fella‘s head. I could have blown head and ball at the time, but I saw an arm near the ball, a blue arm. Both teams had blue jerseys so I thought it was a Carrig fella and I didn’t draw. It was a fatal mistake.”
They met the Barrs again in the 1934 semi-final and a report from a Cork County Board meeting prior to the game noted that “Mr Barry, Carrigtwohill, intimated the willingness of the Carrigtwohill club to fall in with the request made by St Finbarr’s that there should be a change of jerseys by Carrigtwohill for the match fixed for next Sunday at Riverstown.”
In recent years, the club has worn a reversal of the usual jersey – gold with a blue hoop – when required to change. For the 2011 county SHC victory, Ahern’s Centra were the shirt sponsors while Lagan Construction currently hold that status.
The two names were married easily and the Nemo Rangers website outlines the rationale when it came to choosing colours: “As Nemo had been playing in green and black and Rangers in black and white, it was agreed that the new colours would be black — the common denominator — with a green stripe to represent Nemo’s green and a white shamrock (which was later discarded) to represent Rangers’s white.”
With few other clubs wearing black kits, Nemo’s colour clash throughout the 20th century was with officials, but the 1984 All-Ireland Club SFC final win over Meath’s Walterstown — the fourth of seven — threw up an unusual scenario.
At the time, the All-Ireland was run like the Sigerson or Fitzgibbon Cups used to be, with the semi-finals and final on consecutive days. When Nemo and Walterstown both won their semis on the Saturday, Nemo were informed that they had lost the toss for colours for the decider and would have to source alternatives.
Frantic calls were made and Nemo’s Frank O’Connell was able to secure sets from Cork County Board, Coláiste Chríost Rí (close to a reversal of Nemo’s kit, but with one black hoop in between two white ones) and neighbours Douglas (green, white, and black hoops, albeit in a slightly different format to nowadays).
In 2002, the All-Ireland series also provoked a change, though Nemo’s powers of persuasion ensured it was not drastic. Playing the green-clad Charlestown of Mayo in the semi-final, live television coverage meant that Nemo were asked to wear alternative jerseys, but a compromise was reached: They donned black shorts instead, increasing the contrast with their opponents. Nemo won that game, but lost to Ballinderry in the final, having been beaten by Crossmolina Deel Rovers in 2001. They would make it third time lucky in 2003, however, avenging the Crossmolina loss with victory in Croke Park.
Television considerations also led to Nemo’s most recent high-profile change, the 2008 county SFC final against Douglas. While games between the clubs had featured both first-choice jerseys up to then, both were asked to change and Nemo were in grey tops and black shorts as they claimed a fourth successive title, Douglas fielding in green shirts and white shorts.
At the time, they were sponsored by Atlantic Homecare, later to become part of Woodie’s, whose name also graced the Nemo chests. The current O’Neills design features motor dealership Johnson & Perrott as the main sponsor.