Ever since Aidan O’Shea got his camera phone out and did his Twitter thing the other night, there’s been a degree of interest that’s bordering on febrile about “the jersey”. In this regard, I’m delighted to be able to feed this particular beast (the jersey story, not Aido) still further with some better quality pictorial evidence of the new geansaí and to provide a bit more information in the way of context about it. Here it is.
From what I’ve been told, the current plan is that the jersey will be be produced as a commemorative one to mark the county’s NFL Division One clash with All-Ireland champions Dublin under the lights at McHale Park on Saturday, 11th February next and that it’ll be worn by the lads for this match. As this game is set to be shown live on Setanta (including a simulcast in glorious High Definition) the jersey will get a proper airing that evening. Elvery’s have produced the design but the jersey itself will be manufactured by O’Neill’s. Elvery’s will be selling replicas of it both at the match itself and in their shops.
Whether or not the commemorative jersey then goes on to become the official county one for the next four years is still an open question. The design is, for sure, a radical departure from anything we’ve had up to now. And, yes, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you: there’s not a hoop in sight. Double-click on the image below to see high resolution details of the home and away front panels of the jersey and of the back (which will be the same for both home and away variants).
According to County Board PRO Aidan McLoughlin, any decision about using the commemorative design on a more permanent basis won’t be made until after the Dublin game. The decision on whether or not to make the switch to this new design will depend on “feedback we get from fans, players, officials etc on the night of the game”. Regardless of whether or not this is the jersey that we’ll ultimately end up with from 2012 onwards, what it certain is that the 2008-11 model will definitely be retired this side of next year’s championship.
Supporters (not just GAA ones) tend to have a strong attachment to the playing gear of the team they follow which means that proposing a radical switch in the design of the Mayo jersey isn’t a move to be taken lightly. Personally, I think that the idea of producing a commemorative design for what could ultimately turn out to the a one-off occasion is an excellent idea, as well as a practical way of road-testing the acceptability of the proposed style. I’m also pretty sure that such a move marks a first ever for the GAA (Cork’s jersey for the centenary All-Ireland hurling final in 1984 is the only other one I can think of and that wasn’t really a redesign at all) so I think that top marks for innovation are in order. We’ll leave it to 11th February, however, before doling out any for design.