Every year, London Irish celebrate their Irish heritage on the closest home game to St Patrick’s Day, with the club laying on a big party for their fans, and marking the occasion with a special one-off jersey. 2016 was no different… and yet in may ways it was very different indeed.
Yes, rather than celebrate St Patrick’s Day in front of their fans at the Madjeski this year, however, Irish opted to take things global – very global. Yes, last Saturday, Irish and Saracens played the first Aviva Premiership game outside of the UK, when they travelled to New York to play in the Red Bull Arena.
They lost, of course – such is the way with London Irish this season – but it was still an historic occasion, and that makes the St Patrick’s Day shirts they were wearing for Saturday’s game a little piece of history. And an eye-catching one at that.
While the regular Irish shirts this season were an exercise in classy, classic simplicity, O’Neills has created something altogether more eye-grabbing, with the assistance of Irish fashion designer Orla Kiely.
On first glance you might think the the none-more-shamrock motif is a bit over the top, but don’t forget, this shirt was worn for St Patrick’s Day in the USA, and anyone who’s experienced that particular set of circumstances will know that it’s entirely in-keeping with the vibe…
Do we prefer this shirt to the gorgeous diagonal-hooped design from last season? Well, on a purely aesthetic level it’s not even close. However, this shirt is a little bit of history, and it’s also raising money for Cancer Research UK, so that hardly matters, does it?