THE BLUE JERSEY.
This is an account(unverified) of how the blue jerseys came to be worn by our teams. This comes from a letter written in the 1970's by Johnny O' Herlihy to Con Neenan. Johnnie had played with the Fr. O'Leary Hall hurling team but transferred to the Barrs in 1910.
Johnny's father was Patrick O'Herlihy who, himself, played with the Barrs in the 1870's. It wasn't unusual in those days for players to play matches in their ordinary clothes and for members of a particular team to wear a sash of a particular colour for identification purposes. At some stage teams began to wear specific colour jerseys. We are not sure when this happened but we suspect it was in the late 1870's or early 1880's.
In his letter Johnny says his father wanted something to wear while playing .
“ How he came to be the first man to wear a blue jersey. My mother was walking through Paddy's market on North Main Street on Saturday afternoon and bought a blue jersey(or jumper) for one shilling and sixpence. On Sunday,my father wore it and went out to Cuffes field , back of the Lough where a few of the players were trying to decide what colour jersey to wear . He showed them the blue jersey and that was that”.
In Sean Beecher's book “The Blues” he says that there has also been a suggestion that because the Lough parish Church is called The Church of the Immaculate Conception, that the colour blue was chosen because blue is always associated with Our Lady. Perhaps there is some truth in both suggestions.
This was probably before 1886. On the 18th May 1886, a meeting was held at 34 Bandon Road. At this meeting, Patrick O'Herlihy proposed that a Hurling Club be formed under the rules of the Gaelic Athletic Association and be called St.Finbarrs National Hurling Club. Michael O'Keeffe seconded the proposition and the meeting agreed unanimously. We know that the St.Finbarrs team was in existance prior to this, this meeting merely brought the team under the umbrella of the GAA.