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Thursday 8 December 2016

How Paula came up with city's famous blue and navy shirt

Paula Lee, pictured at Parnell Park
Paula Lee, pictured at Parnell Park

HILL 16 supporters kitted out in Dublin's iconic blue and navy strip this weekend have one woman to thank for the "nicest kit in the country".

Four decades ago, Glasnevin native Paula Lee (65) felt the county team's colours of blue and white looked too similar when supporters watched games on black and white television. She had only taken up her position as secretary to the secretary of the Dublin County Board, but immediately saw the need for change.

Statement

It was the beginning of Kevin Heffernan's GAA revolution, with the Dubs making a fashion statement to go along with their first All-Ireland title victory in 11 years.

"I started working here in 1974 and Dublin were wearing the blue and white at the time," Ms Lee said.

"I thought that for television purposes the blue and white colours didn't look great - they were too similar on black and white television.

"I started sketching out different gear with navy shorts, a stronger blue and the navy collar," she added.

She then took her prototype to Seamus Dalton, in the O'Neill's factory.

He then put the design into practice.

It took time for county board members to come to terms with the idea, but secretary Jim King joined Ms Lee in pushing for change.

Change

"I think the change first happened for the All-Ireland, because during the Leinster Championship they were still wearing blue and white," said Ms Lee.

After Dublin's success in winning the All-Ireland that year, Dublin Corporation decided to change the city's flag to blue and navy.

"I'm very proud of it," said Ms Lee, who has been a stalwart within the Dublin County Board for more than 41 years.

This will be her final year and she wants to go out with a bang with another All-Ireland title in the bag.

"I'm happy to let them at it - I had my day in the sun," she said.

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