Last week’s article detailing the history between Kerry and adidas was long (possibly one of the longest we’ve published in our 48-year history!) but there was still some info that I couldn’t quite fit in. Also, some more details have come to my attention since the article was published. So here, in no particular order, is some bonus information on Kerry’s famous green and gold jersey.
With the lack of external branding, it was difficult to tell whether or not Kerry were wearing adidas jerseys in the early eighties. But there was one significant clue on some of the shirts at the time: the number font. When Kerry wore that famous yellow and green design against Offaly in the 1981 final, the standard plain number font was replaced with very adidas-looking numbers comprised of three white stripes. The same font, which was also used by the German national team in ’81, was wheeled out again for the lime green change strip in 1982.
Although Kerry have predominantly used white numbers in recent decades, their visibility (or lack thereof) on the green and gold home jerseys has frequently been a major gripe as far as supporters and the media have been concerned. Kit-makers have tried to remedy this problem in a number of ways. Black numbers on large white rectangles were used intermittently throughout the forties, fifties and sixties and adidas reintroduced this style in 1984. In 1985, the white numbers returned and they have remained the standard style ever since, with some notable exceptions.
In 1995, Emerald Active Wear (adidas’ Irish licensee at the time) provided Kerry with jerseys that featured bold, retro, navy numbers with three-stripe detailing, similar to the ones used by Premier League clubs Liverpool and Newcastle at the time.
The Millfield jerseys of 1996 and 1997 kept the blocky numbers but when adidas returned in 1998, they replaced the navy with a shade of gold and brought back a rounder font. Even against an all-green reverse, the gold numbers were extremely hard to see and they were ditched for the All-Ireland semi-final against Kildare, with the retro, dark blue numbers making their return. When O’Neills came back on board in 2000, white numbers were reintroduced and they have been in use since.
When designing the 2018 jersey, Paul Galvin intentionally shifted the number higher up on the back so the white would be resting more on the green, therefore making it easier to see from a distance.
In 1992, Kerry Group’s blue, rectangular logo was placed across Kerry’s gold band and this branding, which features the now-famous ‘KERRY’ font with a gold underline, was also used in 1993 and 1994.
Although this was (and still is) Kerry Group’s official logo, it was felt at the time that the word ‘KERRY’ on its own was slightly jarring, so Kerry Group came up with a solution. They added the word ‘GROUP’ and placed it below ‘KERRY’, while also changing the font colour to dark blue and removing the blue background and the gold flashline. This new branding, which has been used ever since, only exists on Kerry jerseys.
[caption id="attachment_36515" align="aligncenter" width="628"] Stephen O'Brien in the 2018/19 shirt. The Kerry Group branding that features on Kerry jerseys only exists for this specific purpose. Pic: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile.[/caption]
THE NAME ON THE BACK
Kerry added ‘CIARRAí’ to the back of their Emerald Active Wear jerseys, just above the numbers, in 1995. Then county board chairman Seán Kelly believes The Kingdom were the first county to introduce this element to their shirt and he says the use of the Irish name was insisted upon by the county board. It subsequently became commonplace for counties to include their Irish names on the back of their jerseys.
In last week’s article, Tomás Ó Sé mentioned that the adidas gear they received in the late nineties was oversized. The baggy, soccer-style shorts were evidently not universally popular with some of the players as Maurice Fitzgerald, Séamus Moynihan, Mike McCarthy, Liam Hassett, Aodán MacGearailt and Billy O’Shea were all spotted wearing the old Millfield shorts during the 1999 season.
When Kerry’s motion to change the playing gear rule was defeated in April of 2000, the arrangement with adidas had to be scrapped. As the new deal with O’Neills was not yet finalised, Páidí Ó Sé’s men needed an emergency set of away jerseys for their National League semi-final against Meath on April 23. They took to the field in unbranded blue adidas jerseys (with the rectangular, blue Kerry Group logo) that were first used in the early nineties. Goalkeeper Declan O’Keeffe wore a white O’Neills Munster jersey from the Railway Cup.
Another unusual variation that didn’t really resemble the adidas or Millfield designs was worn in league matches against Louth and Antrim in late 1998. This jersey is a real mystery – if you have any information please get in touch on Twitter (@AdamMoynihan) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This factoid does not relate to a Kerry jersey, but it does relate to a Kerry man. Mick O’Dwyer, the legendary manager who was one of the driving forces behind the Kerry/adidas deal in the eighties, went on to manage Kildare between 1991 and 1994 and again between 1997 and 2002. Although Kildare were kitted out by O’Neills during both of his spells as bainisteoir, O’Dwyer remained loyal to adidas and was often seen wearing adidas tracksuit pants and sneakers on the sideline.
Unusually for a manager, he was also known to wear a replica of the team shirt during matches. One such occasion was the 2002 Leinster semi-final against Offaly at Nowlan Park in Kilkenny when O’Dwyer wore the official O’Neills Kildare jersey over his tracksuit jacket, with the shirt tucked into his pants. It was a distinctive look that was topped off by his headwear: a traditional tweed flat cap.
A closer look at the jersey itself reveals an interesting alteration. The O’Neills logo on the chest was covered up with a strip of white tape.
[caption id="attachment_36514" align="aligncenter" width="409"] Mick O'Dwyer's Kildare jersey with a mysterious strip of white tape covering the O'Neills logo. Pic: Ray McManus/Sportsfile.[/caption]
As O’Neills were the official kit suppliers at the time and their branding was visible on all Kildare clothing, including match gear, it’s hard to think of a reason why O’Dwyer would be required to block out their logo.
Croke Park forced him and his Kerry players to cover up their adidas branding for many years. Would it be too far-fetched to speculate that this was O’Dwyer’s “revenge”?
Or is there a simpler explanation? If you have a theory, please let us know.
Fossa on cusp of history as club from ‘nine square miles’ eyes senior status
Kerry IFC Final
Fossa v Milltown/Castlemaine
Austin Stack Park
Never before in the history of Kerry football has an Intermediate final attracted so much attention.
On Sunday, two clubs go head-to-head with a trophy and promotion on the line – but this high-profile encounter has far more riding on it than that.
In fact, the consequences of the outcome of this second-tier decider are going to be massive. If Fossa win, they will graduate to senior for the first time in their 53-year existence. It would represent a monumental achievement for the club from the small parish to the northwest of Killarney; few, if any, believed it would ever be possible given their lowly standing as recently as a few years ago.
With two generational talents at their disposal in the form of the Clifford brothers from Two Mile, they have rapidly risen through the ranks. Now they are seeking their second successive promotion following on from last year’s extra time win over Listry in the Junior Premier final.
And if the idea of Fossa going out on their own in the Kery Senior Football Championship wasn’t intriguing enough on its own, there’s more. A Fossa win would mean that East Kerry, winners of four of the last five titles, would lose their Fossa contingent for 2024. Most notable amongst that cohort are Paudie and David Clifford, unquestionably the district’s two most influential players.
There is plenty of intrigue from Milltown/Castlemaine’s perspective too. The Mid Kerry side are aiming to get back to senior level for the first time since being relegated in 2016 following defeat to Kilcummin in a playoff. They were not considered to be amongst the frontrunners for this competition before a ball was kicked, and possibly not after the group stage either, so victory this weekend would be sweet.
Of course, a Milltown/Castlemaine win would also have a huge bearing on the 2024 County Championship. Mid Kerry (runners-up in 2020, 2022 and 2023) stand to lose five starters if Milltown are promoted: Pa Wrenn, David Roche, Gavin Horan, Cillian Burke and Éanna O’Connor. Such a loss would greatly weaken their hand and widen the gap that already exists between them and the reigning champions. Add to that the fact that East Kerry will keep the Cliffords if Milltown/Castlemaine win, and the significance of this game is magnified further still.
There is so much at stake for all the invested parties in East and Mid Kerry, and there is plenty to consider for the neutral fan as well. Many would welcome the weakening of East Kerry’s squad as it would potentially lead to a more competitive County Championship. However, there is serious concern amongst Kerry supporters that the Cliffords are in need of a rest after a long couple of years with club and county. If Fossa prevail they will advance to the Munster Championship and possibly beyond if they manage to keep on winning. This would likely interfere with their star players’ off-season.
There’s no doubt that the nature of Fossa’s matches to date have whetted the appetite for this final. They were involved in exhilarating extra time victories over Castleisland and Austin Stacks in the previous rounds and more excitement of that nature would be more than welcome after a largely disappointing County Championship.
Milltown/Castlemaine also bring plenty to the table and although the momentum from their own semi-final heroics against Legion may have dwindled somewhat over the many weeks between then and now, they can certainly take heart from that result against one of the pre-tournament favourites.
It’s all set up to be a fascinating match-up and a large crowd is expected in Tralee for this one.
The match will also be streamed live by Clubber.
Home double header for St Paul’s and Scotts Lakers
The St Paul’s women’s and men’s teams are both in National League action this Saturday at Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre with their games tipping off at 4.30pm and 7.30pm respectively.
James Fleming’s ladies take on the Phoenix Rockets on the back of that disappointing cup exit at the hands of the Cavan Eagles a fortnight ago and they will be keen to get back to winning ways on home turf.
Paul’s have a perfect 100% record in Division 1 but they are sure to be tested by the Rockets, who gave a fine account of themselves over the course of the 2022/23 season.
They beat Paul’s in Lisburn last February, though the Killarney side exacted revenge in the playoffs in March. The Rockets have made an inconsistent start to the 2023/24 campaign picking up just two wins from the seven games played. The second of those victories came as recently last Saturday when they got the better of the Limerick Sport Eagles at home, but they fell to another defeat against the Huskies back up north the following day.
The Rockets are coached by former Ireland player Breda Dick, a woman who cites Killarney’s own Paudie O’Connor as her role model. Paudie was her first coach at international level and obviously left a huge mark on Breda.
Dick will be looking to the McGrath sisters Charly and Georgie to carry the torch for them as well as American signing Jay Ashby.
For Paul’s, Khiarica Rasheed has been building a good understanding with Sofia Paska and they will be keen to work on that partnership again on Saturday. In the absence of Lorraine Scanlon, who will be attending the LGFA All-Stars, Meabh Barry may be pushed up the ladder. Lynn Jones and Rheanne O’Shea will also be expected to play prominent roles.
Under the guidance of Coach Brian Clarke, Scotts Lakers have established a winning record of 4-2 and as a result they find themselves fifth out of 12 teams in Division 1 of the National League.
They claimed their latest win at home to the Dublin Lions last weekend (81-71) with Americans Braden Bell (26) and Terion Moss (25) accounting for the bulk of the scoring. Jamie O’Sullivan, Oisín Spring and Cian Forde also made their mark on the scoreboard.
Coach Brian Clarke was very pleased with the contribution of his subs on the night. “Our bench was ready to come on and make the difference and I can’t emphasis enough the importance of that,” he told club PRO Enda Walshe.
“Braden and Terion are great shot-makers but they also have a sharp eye for passes to their teammates. Oisín Spring, and Paul Clarke in previous games, are alive to that and make themselves available. It’s a great opportunity for our young players to make their mark and provided they continue to dedicate themselves to their craft, they will get to enjoy that.”
Next up for the Lakers is the visit of the Limerick Celtics on Saturday. The Shannonsiders are currently second in Division 1 having won five of their six matches to date.
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