When a colour clash is deemed to exist, then one would expect such a problem to be solved by getting one or both of the protagonists to wear a different outfit than usual so that there can be no confusing which side is which.

Occasionally, however, there can be hiccups in this regard, as teams feel that an advantage can be gained by standing firm and playing in the regular, familiar, kit.

What occurred in the lead-up to the 1960 National Football League semi-final between Dublin and Cavan at Navan was surelly unprecendented, though, with what appeared to be a small problem being made into a big one for no good reason.

The great Irish Independent journalist John D. Hickey was always a voice of common sense when it came to colour-clashing in the GAA, and here we reproduce his article of April 23, 1960, the eve of the game. 

J. D. Hickey

A COLOUR problem that may not be resolved until the rival sides meet at Páirc Tailteann, Navan, to-morrow, if even then, has arisen in connection with the Dublin-Cavan National Footbal League semi-final.

Because of the clash between Dublin’s light blue and Cavan’s dark blue, a change was deemed imperative and when the matter arose at last Saturday’s meeting of the Central Countil, it was ruled, after much parleying, that both side would have to play in the provincial colours – Dublin in green and Cavan in saffron.

Originally, I understand, Cavan officially intimated that they would play in their customary blue and that Dublin could play in any colour other than blue.


That suggestion suited Dublin, who had purchased a set of white jerseys with a small strip of blue on the collar, but at the Central Countil meeting Mr. Andy O’Brien, the Cavan delegate, vehemently objected to that jersey.

The Dublin delegate, Mr. Bob Freeman, explained again and again that the strip of blue was inconsequential, but, after he had consulted other Cavan representatives, Mr. O’Brien said that his county would not agree to the proposed Dublin jersey.

The President, Dr. J. J. Stuart then stated that, according to rule, both counties would have to play in their provincial colours.

On Sunday morning, I am told, a new agreement was reached that Cavan would play in their own jerseys and Dublin in the St. Vincents’ white jersey with a broad blue hoop. Subsequently, that decision was repudicated [sic] by Cavan and it was back to the provincial colours.

On Tuesday evening Croke Park was informed that Cavan would play in their own jerseys and that Dublin would be attired in a white jersey carrying the county crest.

Then on Tuesday night when Mr. Liam Creavin, the Meath Co. Secretary, rang the Cavan secretary, Mr. H. Smyth, for the Breffni team, in order to place a programme in the hands of the printers, he was informed that Cavan would play in saffron and Dublin in green.


In an effort to end the deadlock Dublin eventually sought a set of provincial jerseys only to learn from Mr. Martin O’Neill, the Leinster secretary, that a set was not available as the Provincial Council allows the provincial teams, win or lose, to retain the jerseys in recognition of being selected on a Leinster team.

In their dilemma, Dublin got in contact with the Meath secretary who immediately agreed to loan them the Royal County’s green jerseys with gold cuffs and collars.

Yesterday, however, I was informed by the Cavan Co. Board chairman, Mr. T. P. O’Reilly, that if Dublin turned out in the Meath jersey, on a Meath ground, they would play in their usual blue jersey.

A Dublin spokesman told me yesterday that they were, to put it mildly, most displeased with Cavan’s attitude all along the line. First, he said, there was the refusal to play the game at Croke Park, followed by the wrangling about the colours.

It is of interest to recall that when Dublin defeated Cavan by 4-6 to 0-9 in the 1952-’53 National Football League final at Croke Park, Cavan wore their own blue jersey and Dublin the St. Vincents colours."

•  Cavan brought both the blue and saffron jerseys with them to Navan, ready to wear the blue if Dublin wore the Meath tops. In the end, provincial colours were worn as Cavan advanced to a meeting with Down in the first all-Ulster league final.

Later that summer Dublin would encounter Longford, who like Cavan wear mainly royal blue, in the Leinster championship, wearing St Vincent's jerseys to alleviate the clash.

Above: Various options of change jerseys for Dublin to wear which were unacceptable to Cavan.
Above: Ulster and Leinster provincial colours
Above: Cavan and Dublin's regular strips, deemed to clash by the GAA.