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02nd Aug 2017

Ranking Ireland’s home jerseys of the last three decades

Hard to pick between 1986 and 1992

Conan Doherty

Over 30 years.

Three decades of memories, magic and jerseys.

It’s always a bumpy ride with Ireland. A nation so proud of its football sometimes gets the over-achievement it deserves. There are plenty of highs, many lows and you don’t know from one year to the next just what is in store.

And that’s only the jersey side of things.

Here’s our definitive order of the Irish home kits of the last 30-odd years.

19. 1995

Alan McLoughlin Republic of Ireland 12/10/1994

Talk about a World Cup hangover. This is just a kit with delusions of grandeur.

18. 2002

Gary Doherty 20/11/2002 DIGITAL

Good memories but the Japan/Korea kit was unshapely, unsightly and, call us dramatic, unforgivable.

17. 2003

Kenny Cunningham 18/11/2003

This is what happens when a jersey gets ideas above its station. Took a gamble with the hoops lining through it and it did not pay off.

16. 1998

Gary Breen celebrates 14/10/1998

The nineties loved a good design within the jersey but hindsight doesn’t love it so much. Weird collar and neckline with this effort. Gary Breen though.

15. 2010

Shane Long celebrates scoring 17/11/2010

Must try harder. The shade of green isn’t pleasant and the neck design and fit just smacks of laziness. We expect more from our jerseys.

14. 1996

Denis Irwin 29/10/1997

The retro collar actually looks pretty decent and the orange trim around this knitwear gives it a certain níl a fhios agam. Tries something strange with the arms. Not disastrous. Certainly not great.

13. 2000

Steve Finnan 15/11/2000

As retro numbers go, this is as old-fashioned as they come. Decent collar, nice buttoned neck line and a lovely cotton feel to boost. A wildcard.

12. 2012

The Republic of Ireland team 14/11/2012

Simple, elegant. Let down in the collar area. And it’s not even the right green.

11. 2017

Much better than the leaked images of it. But Jon Walters would do that to a kit, wouldn’t he?

10. 1994

Ray Houghton 18/6/1994

There’s certainly been none like it.

9. 2004

Roy Keane wins the ball over Djibril Cisse 7/9/2005

Just the right amount of everything but not enough of something. This is a good jersey. It’s not a great one.

8. 2014

Shane Long celebrates scoring a goal 29/3/2015

Perhaps this jersey wasn’t appreciated in its own time as much as it should’ve been when it was released at an all-time-low in Irish football. It not only has good memories with it now but its collar is beautiful and it is simplicity personified jersified.

7. 2008

Damien Duff 19/11/2008

Fantastic colour, the right amount of orange and white with the right shade of green. The neck is on the money, the sleeves are a gem. Number one contender on its day but it is downright competitive at this point.

6. 1990

The Ireland team 1990

Nice striped sleeves, nice simple premise. Looks like they got bored half-way through though and just threw the rest together.

5. 2006

Kevin Doyle 15/11/2006

This is everything the 2012 jersey wanted to be. This is a dream. You’d be afraid to touch it design-wise in case you ruined any of it – thank God Umbro didn’t. Some things are best left alone.

4. 2016


The white, the orange – perfect. The collar – perfect. The colour – perfect. And even room for a risk too with the subtle stripes running diagonally through it – and they’re perfect. Combining simplicity with a bit of edginess.

3. 1988

Chris Hughton 1988

An example here of when risk-taking pays dividends. The stripes on the sleeves are daring and working. The original adidas logo with the old Ireland crest is a joy to behold. Just enough orange with the only drawback being the v-neck and collar combo. Make your mind up, like.

2. 1992

Paul McGrath Republic of Ireland V Latvia 9/9/1992

An iconic jersey because of its fearlessness. Great neck, fine brand placing and a good plain number – for the most part. Bold stripe design over the arm/shoulders/chest.

1. 1986

Dave Langan Republic of Ireland 1986

Sometimes the obvious answer is the right answer. This is simple. This is easy. This is oh so wonderful. V-neck, stripes, sleeve-trim, simple. Timeless.

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