herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Meet the dedicated staff working overtime to get stars kitted out for All Ireland final

Gabriella Visockiene pictured with The Dublin and Kerry Jersey's at The O'Neills Factory at Walkinstown yesterday.
Gabriella Visockiene pictured with The Dublin and Kerry Jersey's at The O'Neills Factory at Walkinstown yesterday.
Tina Fox putting the finishing touches to a Dublin/Kerry Jersey at The O'Neills Factory at Walkinstown yesterday.
Jean McDonnell pictured putting the finishing touches to a Kerry Jersey at The O'Neills Factory at Walkinstown yesterday.
Mary Finnegan and Amanda McManus ironing The Dublin and Kerry Jersey's at The O'Neills Factory at Walkinstown yesterday.
Gabriella Visockiene pictured with The Dublin and Kerry Jersey's at The O'Neills Factory at Walkinstown yesterday.

THE countdown is well and truly under way in the capital for Sunday's All-Ireland clash - and staff in O'Neills are working overtime to meet the demand for jerseys.

Along with a winner's medal, the addition of the All-Ireland 2015 wording to a team's jersey is the prize all county players covet at the start of the season.

This week in Walkinstown the final kit for the potential champions was being stitched and customised.

Marketing manager Cormac Farrell for O'Neills International Sportswear allowed the Herald a sneak peak behind the scenes in their Dublin facility.

"We provide them with everything from bags, socks and leisure wear," Mr Farrell said.

"They are pressed, printed and manufactured here in Dublin," he added.

The jerseys are also created by a group of designers who work off the factory floor and the shirts are usually updated every season or so.

"This is, for us, the culmination of a long GAA season and the demand focuses a lot more on just the counties in the final," Mr Farrell said.

message

The Kerry kits are stacked up, ready to be delivered to the team.

"You can put a good luck message in, if you like," joked Mr Farrell.

"They can't get enough of them, thousands go out," production manager Lucy Somers revealed.

Amid the sound of the sewing machines there is a love of the game for some staff members.

Mary Finnegan will retire this year after at least two decades with the company. Both she and her husband are avid GAA fans and will be shouting on the boys in blue this weekend, hoping that working on the jerseys will help nudge the team to victory.

The demand for regular and custom-made jerseys spikes around this time of year for fans keen to cheer on their county.

However, for some people it is not as simple as that as in many families there are divided loyalties. Luckily, there is a jersey for that.

"The half-and-half jersey is getting very popular now," Mr Farrel explained.

"There are a lot of families who might have parents from different parts of the country - like the Brogans for instance," he added.

The minor jerseys were also top of the priority list for the O'Neills staff this week.

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