Home Football Ranking The Top Ten Ireland Kits In The 23 Years Of Umbro

Ranking The Top Ten Ireland Kits In The 23 Years Of Umbro

The FAI confirmed the end of an era on Friday by announcing that New Balance would be replacing Umbro as the Ireland football team’s kit manufacturer in a deal that will kick in from August.

It seems almost certain then that Ireland’s clash with Austria at the Aviva next month will be the final time that the Boys in Green line out wearing their current kit, with the new shirt fully unveiled and (presumably) on sale by the time Martin O’Neill’s men face Georgia in September.

In the 23 years that Umbro made Ireland’s kits, there were some good, some bad and some outright mental. Below are, what we believe anyway, to be the ten best efforts that they have produced in the two decades or so that they have been manufacturing the Irish shirts.

10. 1997-98 Away

Macedonia v Republic of Ireland. 2/4/1997. Alan McLoughlin celebrates his goal. © Billy Stickland/INPHO

Included primarily for Umbro having the brass balls to kit the Republic of Ireland team out in an orange kit in 1997, the orange jersey will forever be associated with that infamous 3-2 defeat in Macedonia. On an aesthetic level it is genuinely heinous but deserves its place purely for nostalgia purposes.

9. 2001-03 Home

IBARAKI - JUNE 5:  Robbie Keane of  Ireland celebrates after scoring the equalising goalf during the Group E match of the World Cup Group Stage against Germany played at the Ibaraki-Prefectural Kashima Soccer Stadium, Ibaraki, Japan on June 5, 2002. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Ireland’s jersey for the 2002 World Cup campaign was a solid effort. Nothing too extravagant, and will forever be remembered for the delirium caused by Robbie Keane scoring a last-minute equaliser against Germany and subsequent 3-0 against Saudi Arabia (with nothing of the unpleasantness that was the opening two Euro 2004  qualifiers that followed).

8. 2008-09 Home

2010 World Cup Qualifier 15/10/2008 Republic of Ireland vs Cyprus Ireland's Robbie Keane
INPHO/James Crombie
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The usual green and white were supplemented with an orange trim for the first half of Ireland’s World Cup 2010 qualification campaign. A risk that paid off, and was one of a solid run of Irish home shirts.

 

7. 2010-11 Away

UEFA Euro 2012 Qualifier 6/9/2011 Russia vs Republic of Ireland Ireland's Richard Dunne with the number 5 written on his jersey
INPHO/Donall Farmer
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Also known as “The Richard Dunne,” such was the notoriety it gained when the defender’s number was drawn on with marker after a swap during a Euro 2012 qualifier in Moscow. It’s not particularly flashy, this kit, but one man’s flashy is another man’s simple and effective.

 

6. 2003-05 Away

World Cup Qualifier Republic of Ireland vs Switzerland 8/9/2004 Ireland's Clinton Morrison celebrates his goal
INPHO/Morgan Treacy
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Perhaps just because it as the away alternative to the deeply unpopular hooped home effort of the Euro 2004 qualifiers, nonetheless the change strip was a fine shirt in its own right. The usual white is complemented by the green trim on the shoulders and side, and the collar is a nice touch.

 

5. 2010-11 Home

DUBLIN, IRELAND - AUGUST 11:  Robbie Keane the Republic of Ireland captain makes his 100th appearance during the International Friendly match between Republic of Ireland and Argentina at the Aviva Stadium on August 11, 2010 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The shade of green was different to that which perhaps we were used to, and the the v-neck collar was too big for some people’s tastes, but it worked.

4. 2012 Away

Republic of Ireland's UEFA EURO 2016 Group E Opponents 12/12/2015 EURO 2012 Group C, Municipal Stadium, Poznan, Poland 18/6/2012 Republic of Ireland vs Italy Ireland's Robbie Keane and Damien Duff at the end of the game
INPHO/Donall Farmer
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It’s unfortunate that this shirt is associated with Ireland’s shambolic Euro 2012 campaign; it doesn’t deserve that type of baggage. The vertical sash was an interesting idea for Umbro to work into an Ireland shirt, but it was one of the more popular change jerseys during the manufacturer’s tenure.

 

3. 2004-06 Home

World Cup Qualifier Republic of Ireland 13/10/2004 Roy Keane, Stephen Carr and Robbie Keane
INPHO/Morgan Treacy
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After the pinstriped hoop effort went down like a lead balloon, this was a return to normality somewhat for the Ireland home shirt. Simple green with white and orange trim, with a larger white area under the arms. Safer, and all the better for it.

 

2. 2016-17 Home

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 13:  Wes Hoolahan (R) of Republic of Ireland celebrates scoring his team's first goal with his team mate Glenn Whelan (L) during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Republic of Ireland and Sweden at Stade de France on June 13, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Given the concept, this could have gone horribly wrong. A manufacturer playing fast and loose with the unwritten guidelines of a football shirt can have horrible consequences. However, they got this spot on, from the diagonal stripes to the orange and white collar. Well played, Umbro.

1. 2006-08 Home

UEFA 2008 Qualifier 13/10/2007 Republic of Ireland Robbie Keane, Shay Given, Richard Dunne, Kevin Kilbane,  Kevin Doyle, Lee Carsley, Joey O'Brien, Stephen Kelly and Stephen Finnan during the National Anthem
INPHO/Morgan Treacy
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On first glance, this may look similar to the shirt that came directly after it, but there are a few subtle differences that combine to make a big change. The slightly higher Umbro logo and the asymmetrical pattern on the collar help to make this a standout effort, sullied only by the fact that it was the kit worn during the thundering disaster that was the Steve Staunton era.

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On this week’s episode of the Mixer football podcast, we speak to Bohemians striker Dinny Corcoran on a tense battle for league survival, as well as the usual discussion on all things League of Ireland.

About Simon O'Keeffe

Simon O'Keeffe
Simon is a football writer here at Pundit Arena. You can contact him at [email protected], or through the Twitter link below

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