Colour-blind concerns once again

Photo: Mayo News (Sportsfile)

This is, I know, likely to be another cry in the wilderness. All the same, I feel compelled to raise concerns, yet again, about an impending game involving Mayo which is set to be a difficult watch for those of us, like me, who are colour-blind.

The match against Derry last March, in which we wore our normal strip and they wore their now primary red jersey with a white stripe, was a nightmare. It was all but impossible to tell the two sides apart and the fact that a low sun was shining straight into the stand didn’t improve matters.

If there’s no change on Saturday evening – which promises to be a fine summer’s day – it’ll be equally as bad. Maddeningly, there’s absolutely no reason why this should be so.

This isn’t rocket science. The best way to ensure that teams are easily distinguishable from each other is if one of them wears a dark colour (regardless of the colour – if one is wearing red and the other green or maroon or whatever, that’s no help) the other wears a light colour. It’s that easy.

What’s galling is that if Derry were to line out in the strip they’ve used for decades – a white shirt with a red hoop and red shorts – then everything would be okay. Why they can’t – or won’t – do this is beyond me.

(As an aside, Mayo’s current alternative strip is a complete joke from a colour-blind perspective as it looks the same as our usual one. Mainly green with a bit of red versus mainly red with a bit of green is much of a muchness for colour-blind people. The green and black strip we used in 2015/6, the gorgeous red and black one in 2017 and the all-blue one we wore when we won the League in 2019 all worked well but the current one is a total dud and serves no purpose at all.)

Were common sense to break for Saturday, then the two sides would be easy to distinguish, as the images below confirm.

Instead of this:

Photo: Irish Examiner (Inpho/Laszlo Geczo)

We’d have this:

Photo: The 42 (Inpho/Tommy Dickson)

Are things changing? A few weeks back the GAA ordered Armagh and Derry to line out in different, fully distinct, strips, mindful of the brouhaha that had occurred last year when they met playing in their respective primary strips and even those who aren’t colour-blind couldn’t tell one team from the other.

The change that was ordered worked a treat. Galway have twice this year – against Sligo and Westmeath – also shifted to a white jersey and that works perfectly too.

But moves of this kind shouldn’t be happening on a piecemeal basis. It’s well recognised in most other team sports – just look at the Euros – that teams have to play in strips that can be easily distinguished from each other. It’s way beyond time that the GAA belatedly followed suit and it would be a pleasant surprise if this were to happen in Castlebar on Saturday evening.

11 thoughts on “Colour-blind concerns once again

  1. Agree totally. I refused a lift to Ennis for the minor game with Cork as it wasn’t worth my while. I wouldn’t know which was which. I also have a problem with the Galway colours, especially on a wet day.
    One thing that shows how people who aren’t affected by this was my lifelong friends reply , when I didn’t go. Ah sure you couldn’t be that bad. Could you not try a bit harder. It’s a family joke since, just put in a bit more effort.

  2. I’m not colour blind but this strikes me as something that really should not be difficult for GAA to overcome. Real low hanging fruit stuff WJ.

  3. It’s not as though they’re not aware of this. I sometimes think the basics are what’re conveniently ignored in this country… the ah, sure it’ll be grand bullshit pervails.

  4. I’m also not color blind but do struggle when play is in the farthest areas of the pitch. I actually find it worse on tv if the sun is shining and have to rely on the commentator to bail me out.
    The annoying thing is it is such an easy problem to resolve and I doubt any county boards or members would be against it. Hard to think of a valid reason why the top brass don’t just get on and deal with it.

  5. The amateur ethos of the GAA suggests that not only must they be amatuer in much of what they do but they must also be seen to be amatuerish. Getting teams to change strips would make them all seem far too professional indeed and that wouldn’t do at all. I suffer this affliction and I’ve just had to stop watching games involving Mayo and red jersied opposition – I”ve had to rely on Mid-West Radio. It beggars belief in this day and age. Player welfare is another thing on which they absolutely must protect the amateur ethos so amatuer players must be expected to play like professionals but being expected to perform to optimal levels and not get injured three weeks in a row (if we win on saturday) – i could go on!

  6. Not sure which match i was watching lately, suspect it was Kerry in the dark blue and someone else in dark green maybe
    It was a very very hard watch, I’m not colour blind but where is the bloody common sense here.
    Midwest is best sometimes.

  7. I’m not colour blind either but often find it difficult when we play certain teams

    I’m sure players struggle as well sometimes….
    What percentage of the population are actually colour blind do you know Willie Joe?

  8. Tomthumb. It’s 8% of the male population are colourblind. So as I’ve said here before, you’d imagine that 2 or 3 out of the panel are affected. Did you ever watch a game and say, how in hell did he make such a simple mistake with a bad pass. Maybe that’s the problem.

  9. Thanks for sharing never thought about that one makes me wonder about playing the game with that visual processing challenge , like the previous comment should be possible to sort that if gaa consult those affected. I would think all these things should be prioritized to make the game more accessible for all. Would Jim Gavin consider this with his committee to improve the game? A campaign is needed, won’t help you this week but in the medium term it could be sorted. Thanks for sharing would love to help support a campaign for change
    John O Connor

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