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Cork to wear black jerseys commemorating Mac Curtain and MacSwiney for upcoming games

The black jerseys with red trimming will also commemorate the Kilmichael Ambush and the Burning of Cork, both of which occurred 100 years ago.

Cork hurler Shane Kingston.
Cork hurler Shane Kingston.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

THE CORK HURLERS and footballers will wear specially designed black jerseys honouring Tomás Mac Curtain and Terence MacSwiney in their upcoming home league games against Limerick and Derry respectively.

As first reported by Denis Hurley in the Echo, black centenary jerseys featuring images of the two men — both of whom died while serving as Lord Mayor of Cork in 1920 — will be worn by the players and also made available for general sale. The jersey will be officially unveiled later this week.

The epicentre of the War of Independence, 1920 was a landmark year in Cork’s history. Mac Curtain, a councillor for the original Sinn Féin, was murdered on his 36th birthday in front of his wife and children by members of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) in March — two months after being elected Lord Mayor on Leeside.

His friend and mayoral successor, MacSwiney, also a Sinn Féin representative, was arrested by the British government in August on charges of sedition and died in Brixton Prison that October after a 74-day hunger strike. MacSwiney’s death brought the Irish Republican campaign to international attention, sparking boycott threats, media campaigns and protests against the British government in several countries.

pjimage (10) Tomás Mac Curtain (left) and Terence MacSwiney (right).

In November of that same year, one week after Bloody Sunday, an IRA flying column led by Tom Barry killed 17 RIC Auxiliaries in what became known as the Kilmichael Ambush. A fortnight later, in December, following another ambush of Auxiliaries in the city, a combination of Auxiliaries, Black and Tans and British soldiers burned and looted numerous buildings in Cork city centre. More than 40 business premises, 300 homes, Cork City Hall and Carnegie Library were destroyed by the fire, which left 2,000 jobless and many more homeless.

Both the Kilmichael Ambush and the Burning of Cork will also be commemorated on the jerseys, which will feature a red collar and red striping, and were designed by Cork County Board in conjunction with kit manufacturers O’Neills. Per the Echo, Cork’s shirt sponsors Chill Insurance have agreed to have their logo rendered in white rather than the conventional purple and green.

bill-cooper Cork previously wore jerseys in the county's original colours of blue and saffron to commemorate the Easter Rising of 1916. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

The families of both Mac Curtain and MacSwiney were consulted about the commemoration and will be in attendance for Cork’s hurling league game with Limerick at Páirc Uí Chaoimh this Sunday.

The temporary move to black comes four years after Cork wore — and also made available for general sale — jerseys in the county’s original colours of blue and saffron, which marked the centenary of the Easter Rising.

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