Cork GAA Jersey Wars: Youghal v Valley Rovers

Your votes will decide which club geansaí goes into the next round
Cork GAA Jersey Wars: Youghal v Valley Rovers

Cormac Desmond, Valley Rovers, looking to stop the run of Ollie Dempsey, Youghal. Picture: Dan Linehan

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 and we're now down to the last 16 stage. 

Full details of the competition are here.

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


THE Youghal colours are unique, and for good reason.

The orangey-gold elements – usually, but not always, a hoop – separate them from the plain maroon of the likes of Bishopstown, Argideen Rangers and Rockchapel and, while there might be similarities to the red and yellow combinations of Mallow and Éire Óg, the East Cork side’s outfit has a darker hue.

The original club jerseys were a knitted maroon jumper with a yellow stripe and these were mostly manufactured by players’ mothers, wives or girlfriends. When the time came to purchase a proper set of tops, the club’s money was short and so a fundraising terrier-coursing event was held in Copperalley in 1924. The money raised enabled the club to buy a full set but the colours chosen were green and gold.

However, that patriotic colour-combination is a popular one across the county and country while the Imokilly division also has the likes of Aghada, Killeagh (plain green) and Fr O’Neills (green and red). So it was that a decision was taken in the 1960s to revert to the maroon and gold to avoid clashing with other local clubs. It is believed that the inspiration for the ‘new old’ colours were those of Youghal CBS, though the decision was not a unanimous one at the time.

However, the switch has stood the test of time and Youghal won county intermediate hurling titles in 1969, 1988 and 1993 and the premier intermediate in 2013 while wearing maroon and gold as well as the intermediate football title in 2000.

Youghal’s Barry Ring on the ball against Castlelyons during the 2019 Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship. Picture: John Hennessy
Youghal’s Barry Ring on the ball against Castlelyons during the 2019 Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship. Picture: John Hennessy

The club have played at a number of venues in the parish. The then Blackwater Rangers played their first competitive Gaelic football match against Waterford outfit Clashmore/Piltown/Kinsalebeg at Bill Farrell’s Field at Frogmore.

In 1894, the club then transferred to Jimmy Lynch’s, around the time it was decided to become affiliated with the GAA, adopting the name Youghal Gaelic Athletic Cycling Association.

In 1899, when the once-famous Youghal Cricket Club became defunct, GAA club officials saw the potential of the grounds at Copperally. After renting there for many years, negotiations began for its purchase in 1966 and, after much work, the grounds were opened by the then-president of Ireland, Erskine Childers, in 1974. Then, in 1985, the club bought its current headquarters at Magniers Hill, adjacent to St Raphael’s Hospital, from the Southern Health Board. This land was bought for IR£75,000, a sum collected inside three years, and the premises has been developed further over the years, giving the club a fine home to call its own.

The current jersey design is a durable one, first produced by manufacturers O’Neills in the mid-2000s, albeit in a much baggier fit.

The name of Brookes SuperValu adorns the front while there are fine gold pinstripes in addition to the hoop around the midriff.


WHILE green and white kits are quite popular in Cork and beyond – often with gold added — Valley Rovers’ colourway is a rare if not unique one.

Formed in 1919 as a result of the merger between Innishannon and Knockavilla, the two clubs in the parish of that name, it would appear that the Rovers have worn their colours since the beginning.

Though more associated with soccer, where Celtic and Shamrock Rovers are both known as the Hoops due to the strong sense of identity that comes with having such a combination, Valleys have made the green and white horizontals notable in Cork, especially as a result of the success enjoyed over the past decade and a half.

Beginning with the county IFC title in 2008, the club followed that with the premier football championship a year later, when the intermediate hurling was won for the first time since 1989.

Valleys competed at senior football level for two years and, though they suffered relegation back down to premier intermediate, there were green shoots in the form of county U21 football titles in 2013 and 2015, with another PIFC title coming in the year in between.

Since then, they have become established at senior, unlucky not to reach at least one semi-final. In addition, the premier intermediate hurling final was reached in 2015, with the club losing out to Newcestown in the quest to become the only non-city dual senior club.

And it’s not just in men’s Gaelic games that recent times have been good — on the camogie front, Valleys won the county senior B championship in 2017 while the same year saw the claiming of ladies’ football county junior league, with the junior A championship claimed in 2020 after two final defeats prior to that.

Fiachra Lynch on the ball. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Fiachra Lynch on the ball. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Over the past decade, when a change of jerseys has been required – against teams such as Dohenys and Kanturk — Valleys have fielded in navy tops, though prior to the purchase of that set, the 2008 season brought what must surely be a record as the team wore four different jerseys in the adult men’s county championship.
As well as the regular green and white hoops, they wore the yellow and black of their division Carrigdhoun in the IFC first round against Aghabullogue, then the hurlers unusually wore the purple and gold of Carbery when they took on St Vincent’s while the footballers, clashing with Macroom in the quarter-finals of that successful IFC run, were in blue and green — the Garda Credit Union kit for inter-firms competitions.

The current shirt is the modern O’Neills style, featuring solid green sleeves, with Kevin O’Leary Motor Group the sponsors.

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