Cork GAA Jersey Wars: Castlehaven v Na Piarsaigh

Your votes will decide which club geansaí goes into the next round
Cork GAA Jersey Wars: Castlehaven v Na Piarsaigh

Damien Cahalane of Castlehaven and Dean MacMahon of Na Piarsaigh battle it out in the minor championship. Picture: Provision

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 nine versus 24, which is Castlehaven-Piarsaigh, 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:

CASTLEHAVEN

WHILE Castlehaven affiliated to Cork County Board in 1890, for the next half-century or so that was the extent of the club’s contact with officialdom in the county. That’s not to say that there was no football in the area, as teams from Castletownshend, Myross and Union Hall fielded in competitions not run by the board, but in 1940 they came together under the one umbrella.

Paddy O’Leary purchased a football and Rich Harmody was sent to Cork to buy a set of jerseys, with the instructions that they be cheap and suitable for everyday activity if the football idea fell through. 

White was therefore the natural choice and the team became known as the Lilywhites.

By 1957, a new set of jerseys was needed and local butcher Tom Walsh was the man given the task of sourcing them on this occasion. The order was white again, or something cheap if white wasn’t available — that’s what transpired and Tom returned west with a blue and white hooped set.

All the while, the club laboured in the West Cork junior grades, but success came at the end of the 1960s with a Carbery junior B title, followed in 1973 with the A championship. It took another three years for them to claim the county junior A but they reached the intermediate final at the first attempt in 1977.

They lose that game, to Naomh Abán, but were back in 1978 to go a step further, beating St Finbarr’s second team. A year later, they marked their maiden year at senior by making that final, losing to the Barrs first team.

County U21 glory came in the 1980s and 1989 saw them reach the summit, beating the Barrs in the county senior final, with Munster glory following. The feat was repeated in 1994, overcoming neighbours O’Donovan Rossa after a replay and also winning the Munster club title.

In 1997, they lost out to Beara in the county final, again after a replay, but bounced back from that to win Munster and only missed out on a place in the All-Ireland final after a controversial late goal from Dublin side Erin’s Isle.

Castlehaven's Damien Cahalane, Jack Cahalane, Shane Nolan and Rory Maguire celebrate Mark Collins' decisive penalty last season. Picture: Sam Barnes, Sportsfile.
Castlehaven's Damien Cahalane, Jack Cahalane, Shane Nolan and Rory Maguire celebrate Mark Collins' decisive penalty last season. Picture: Sam Barnes, Sportsfile.

Further county glory came in 2003, beating Clonakilty, and they reached the final again in 2011, with UCC the opposition. That year, a different style of jersey — mainly white with fewer blue hoops than usual — was worn, but after that final loss, traditionalism won out and they were back in the regular hoops for the county final victories of 2012 and 2013, against Duhallow and Nemo Rangers respectively.

Nemo were the final opposition again in 2015, the city side winning after another replay, and it is the Trabeg outfit who will be takin on the Haven in the delayed 2020 final next month. For that match, the Haven will be in their McKeever kit launched at the start of last year, with Cembrit the shirt sponsors.

NA PIARSAIGH

IN 1943, a group of former North Monastery students from around the Redemption Road area decided to band together to form a new GAA club, Na Piarsaigh.

At first, they had little and did their training at Collins Barracks as one of the founder members, Bertie Dorgan, had Army contacts. What was present was a strong nationalistic and cultural ethos, though.

Céilithe were run, at first together with neighbours Delany Rovers, while the club’s crest was the red hand of Ulster, representing the ‘lost’ six counties, but without the thumb – the plan was that, if and when Ireland would be united again, the thumb would be added.

While that day has yet to arrive, Piarsaigh – clad in black and amber hooped jerseys – began to grow and develop as a club. A first city junior title was won in 1947, with the county championship following in 1953. Two years prior to that, a property at Fair Hill had been acquired.

In December 1957, the decision was taken to step up to senior level and a county minor three-in-a-row from 1961-63 gave encouraging signs for the future. In 1965, they reached the semi-finals but lost a six-point lead against St Finbarr’s and they dropped away from contention again.

However, the flourishing underage section would begin to bear fruit again and four national Féile na nGael victories between 1973 and 1980, as well as a run of four county minor titles in five years and U21 championships in 1980, 1981 and 1987 would eventually translate to senior level.

They reached the county final for the first time in 1987. Having beaten Cloughduv in that year’s first round, they were drawn against Blackrock in the quarter-finals and wore amber change jerseys with two chest bands. Having won that game, those jerseys were used again for the semi-final against Glen Rovers but the hoops returned for the decider against Midleton.

Unfortunately for them, the Magpies retained their title. However, when Piarsaigh made it back to the semi-final in 1988 against the Glen, neither side changed jerseys.

The breakthrough finally came in 1990, with Ballyhea, Midleton, Blackrock and St Finbarr’s – after a replay in the final – all beaten. Subsequent wins followed in 1995 and 2004, with the club coming closest in modern times in 2017, losing to the Rockies in the semi-final.

Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

In the wake of that game, there had been suggestions that the two sets of hoops were hard to distinguish but, while Blackrock and Glen Rovers change against each other, neither club’s games against Piarsaigh tend to be considered colour-clashes.

There is a black set of jerseys available to the club for such eventualities, worn most recently by the intermediate hurlers against Kilbrittain in 2019. While the club have had shirt sponsorship in the past, the current jersey, made by O’Neills, carries the club name on the chest.

In the wake of that game, there had been suggestions that the two sets of hoops were hard to distinguish, but, while Blackrock and Glen Rovers change against each other, neither club’s games against Piarsaigh tend to be considered colour-clashes.

There is a black set of jerseys available to the club for such eventualities, worn most recently by the intermediate hurlers against Kilbrittain in 2019. While the club have had shirt sponsorship in the past, the current jersey, made by O’Neills, carries the club name on the chest.

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