Northern Ireland news

Cork GAA jerseys to commemorate centenary of War of Independence get first outing

A changing room view of the commemorative Cork GAA jerseys of Eoin Cadogan, Patrick Collins, and Sean O’Leary, ahead of yesterday's match between Cork and Limerick at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork. The jersey is designed to honour Tomás Mac Curtain and Terence MacSwiney who both died while serving as Lord Mayor of Cork in 1920. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

CORK GAA players yesterday wore centenary jerseys to commemorate two IRA men who died in the War of Independence.

The faces of Tomás MacCurtain and Terence McSwiney, who served as Lord Mayors of the Rebel county and died in 1920, are emblazoned on the specially commissioned strip.

Worn by the senior hurling and football teams over two weekends, the black jersey also remembers the burning of Cork in December 1920, when British forces burnt out the centre of the city in reprisal for an IRA ambush.

MacCurtain, a Sinn Féin councillor, was assassinated in front of his wife and son in March 1920 by members of the Royal Irish Constabulary. McSwiney succeeded him as Lord Mayor and died in prison after 74 days on hunger strike.

In 2016, Cork hurlers wore a special kit in the county's original colours of blue and saffron to honour those who had fought in the 1916 Easter Rising.

The new jerseys, which feature the signatures of MacCurtain and McSwiney, got their first outing at yesterday's National Hurling League against Limerick while they will also be worn at next Sunday's National Football League showdown when the Cork side take on Derry.

Sinn Féin MP for South Down Chris Hazzard posted a tweet on social media referencing the commemoration and also took a swipe at Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

Mr Martin, who is from Cork, has refused to go into government with Sinn Féin following their historic election gains in the Republic and has attacked the party over its links to the Provisional IRA.

The Fianna Fáil leader's son, also Micheál, is the goalkeeper for Cork GAA football team and will wear the jersey at next weekend's clash in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Mr Hazzard said on Friday: "This weekend Cork GAA will honour 2 IRA men who gave their lives in the pursuit of Irish Freedom - the media & political establishment of the time used language that fellow Cork man Micheál Martin has parroted recently - I’m guessing Micheál wont be purchasing himself a jersey?!"

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