Analysis: from collars to crews, flatcaps to helmets and Ciarán McDonald to Brian Cody, GAA has its own fashion history.
As long as GAA has existed, there have been iconic fashion statements made by individuals in the field. From collars to crewnecks, flatcaps to helmets, GAA has its own fashion history. As GAA’s commercial strength grows, we are faced with new fashion trends and the desire to wear the latest kits. But on the heels of the hunt, which is more memorable: fashion or personality?
The summer of 1999 witnessed Meath’s Trevor Giles astonishing world of football with a modified aero-dynamic jersey. Half the All-Star forward cut off his sleeve in the locker room to the slagging soundtrack of his teammates. The sleeveless jersey worn by Giles during the Meath All-Ireland season which won in 1999 is now displayed at the GAA Museum and in 2015, he was chosen as the top GAA accessory of all time by the view of the Second Captain.
From the Second Captain RTÉ 2, 5 of the Best GAA Accessories of All Time
Off the pitch, former soccer player Kerry (and pitcher) and current Wexford senior manager Paul Galvin turned his hand to fashion design and launched ongoing clothing collection with the Dunnes Shop. In 2017, Galvin collaborate with kit manufacturer O’Neills to design a retro-style jersey for the Kerry team, inspired by the jersey worn by the 1985 All-Ireland winning team. Galvin is not alone in his professional exploitation in the fashion industry. In 2015, Oisín Murphy appeared in the Paris edition Mode the magazine modeled the GAA jersey in the same week he lost the senior county final that was thrown with Birr.
From RTÉ News, report Birr Hurler and model 2018 Oisín Murphy’s appearance in Vogue magazine
Nobody says the championship is like a traditional haircut. “The Championship Haircut” is part of the many pre-game rituals of many GAA players towards the start of the season, offering moments for reflection and preparation. But Mayo Ciarán McDonald take many steps further during his career with a variety of extraordinary hairstyles. Ponytails, cornbread, skinheads, and bleached blond hair: McDonald has more hairstyles than the All-Ireland medal, but his classy playing style always goes beyond what is on his head.
From the Second Captain RTÉ 2, footballer Mayo Ciarán McDonald’s, the first TV interview
There have been the same threads throughout history the use of facial hair to display masculinity and the world of sports calls for a statistical analysis of the mustache and winning team ratios. The 1980s and 1990s saw mustaches finding semi-permanent homes in the GAA field. Mayo Willie Joe Padden (and his mustache) playing against Tyrone in the 1989 All-Ireland semifinal with a bandage over his head and a bloodstained jersey is an iconic picture of Gaelic football. 1996 Wexford thrower panel All-Ireland who won formed a number of legendary mustaches, many of which still survive to this day, no exception from the captain Martin Storey and supporters George O’Connor, Otherwise known as “Gorgeous George”.
In 2008, the famous Tyrone players used beard as a psychological tactic on their journey to the success of All-Ireland. After being defeated by Down at the Ulster championship, captain Joe McMahon and many Tyrone players began to grow beards and refused to shave until they were beaten. Ryan McMenamin then commented “I was thinking about looking for handlebars, but my boyfriend said he would finish with me if I did.” Whether Tyrone’s beard affirms masculinity towards opponents or gives them “warrior superiority”, their extended facial hair will always be partly responsible to extend their summer.
Brian Cody is a baseball cap as Blindboy the Rubberbandits is for plastic bags. Unknown to surrender and eminent, the two figures were inconceivable without a unique headgear. Cody’s baseball cap has long been a staple for his side clothes. The fiery Kilkenny manager adjusted his hat more aggressively when the game was in a melted pot and this was often the easiest way to find out if he was stressed. Cody without a hat is like Santa Claus without a beard.
John Joe “Goggles” Doyle captained the Clare throwing team in the 1932 All-Ireland final, which they defeated Kilkenny by 3-3 to 2-3. Using bicycle spokes, Doyle designed and made his own glasses to protect his glasses, which were displayed on Clare County Museum. Doyle will likely have a more forgotten nickname if he only wears contact lenses. In general, it is this extraordinary personality that is revolutionizing fashion in GAA, not the other way around.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent or reflect RTÉ’s views
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