Donal O’Grady will join TG4 on a journey through history to uncover the origins of the Cork GAA jersey, in a new documentary which will be broadcast on St. Stephen's Day.
Up to 1919 the Cork GAA team actually wore a blue jersey with a saffron 'C' emblazoned across the chest (you might recall a modern version of the historic strip was worn by Cork in their thrilling National Hurling League game against Kilkenny back in March, in commemoration of the 1916 Rising).
Not too dissimilar to their current predicament, Cork was perceived as a leading GAA county in 1919, but the hurling team had not seen All-Ireland success in 16 years - too long for Cork supporters, even back then. Of course, at this time, Ireland was in a state of war, and Cork was an epicentre in the battle to free the country from the British.
However, frequent strikes via flying columns in the Rebel County had put British powers under significant pressure, with a curfew failing to curtail suitably rebellious acts.
In the weeks leading up to the Cork’s first Munster Championship fixture with Waterford in 1919, British forces raided the Cork County Board offices on Cook Street; considering Cork GAA's links with the IRA at the time, they considered it a statement.
In that Cook Street office they happened upon Cork's blue jerseys (unsurprisingly there was only one set in those days) and stole them. With their Championship opener upcoming, Cork GAA officials put out the word that they needed kit. Fortunately, they came across a set of red jerseys from the Father O'Leary Temperance Association Team, which had recently become defunct.
A couple of weeks later, Cork - riled by their treatment at the hands of the British - put 10 goals past Waterford, before edging rivals Tipperary in the Munster semi-final. They soundly saw off Limerick in their provincial decider, setting up an All-Ireland final with Dublin at Croke Park. The Rebels ended their 16-year drought with a 6-4 to 2-4 victory, with captain Jimmy 'Major' Kennedy scoring four goals (he scored 42 in 26 Championship games for Cork over a 15-year inter-county career).
And the rest, as they say...
Directed by Pat Comer and produced by Éamonn Ó Cualáin and Samuel Kingston of Fócas Films fame, An Fhuil agus Bindealán airs on TG4 at 7:45pm on St. Stephen's Day.