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Will Ireland have another Macedonia? FAI unveil new orange kit almost 25 years on from Skopje nightmare

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The new Ireland away kit, left, and, right, Jason McAteer reacts to being sent off during the World Cup 1998 qualifying defeat to Macedonia in Skopje back in April 1997

The new Ireland away kit, left, and, right, Jason McAteer reacts to being sent off during the World Cup 1998 qualifying defeat to Macedonia in Skopje back in April 1997

The new Ireland away kit, left, and, right, Jason McAteer reacts to being sent off during the World Cup 1998 qualifying defeat to Macedonia in Skopje back in April 1997

The FAI has unveiled a new orange away kit – the first time an Irish team will wear the colour since that infamous 1998 World Cup qualifying defeat to Macedonia back in April 1997.

The new kit will be worn for the first time by the senior men’s team away to Luxembourg in Ireland’s last game in Group A of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers on November 14.

Like its 1997 predecessor, the new orange kit is also manufactured by Umbro and will include black shorts and orange socks.

The FAI, however, will hope that the new kit sees more dayliight that the 1997 version as that was ditched after only two games.

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Troy Parrott, Andrew Omobamidele and John Egan model Ireland's new orange kit

Troy Parrott, Andrew Omobamidele and John Egan model Ireland's new orange kit

Troy Parrott, Andrew Omobamidele and John Egan model Ireland's new orange kit

A spokesman for the company that distributes Umbro in Ireland said that that the decision to launch the new colour comes 25 years after Ireland last wore orange - a fateful day in Skopje that saw Jason McAteer sent off in a 3-2 defeat that put a huge dent in Ireland’s World Cup hopes.

Jonathan Courtenay, managing director of JACC Sports, Irish Distributor for Umbro, said: “We are delighted to bring an orange Ireland away kit to market for the 2022 international season.

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Jason McAteer leaves after being sent off during the World Cup 1998 Group 8 Qualifier match against FYR Macedonia

Jason McAteer leaves after being sent off during the World Cup 1998 Group 8 Qualifier match against FYR Macedonia

Jason McAteer leaves after being sent off during the World Cup 1998 Group 8 Qualifier match against FYR Macedonia

"We have listened to the fans and a huge amount of people had been looking for Orange to be brought back into the kit rotation. 2022 is significant as it is 25 years since Umbro first brought out an Orange Ireland kit so we felt it was time to run with that colourway again.

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"The previous orange kit, despite only being worn twice by the senior men’s team has gained an iconic status in Irish kit folklore over the last quarter of a century so hopefully we can make more positive memories in this kit.

"In terms of designing this kit, we put a huge emphasis on evoking the 12th man spirit by increasing visibility on-field for the players and in the stands for the fans and there was a deliberate focus on a modern aesthetic. The kit will go on-sale on November 5th with limited numbers available before Christmas.”

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A spokesperson for Ireland supporters group YouBoysInGreen said: "Our Centenary year was something to celebrate and we did so with the same colour jersey we wore back then, which was a nice touch by all involved.

"Macedonia in 1997 is not something Ireland fans will want to remember and there is a strong case it should be confined to history like the orange jersey.

"Everyone will have their own opinion on how the jersey looks, but it’s only a few weeks since Ireland fans were sold a jersey reflecting on a special moment in our history. Is a 3-2 defeat to Macedonia, 24 years ago, a moment worth remembering with a new jersey?

"What's next, a Mick and Roy Saipan special?"

Ireland senior men’s manager Stephen Kenny said: “The reaction to the Centenary Umbro St Patrick’s Blue jersey last month was phenomenal from players and fans alike and we look forward to seeing this new away shirt on for the first time against Luxembourg next week."

Ireland women’s boss Vera Pauw said: “It’s always exciting to launch a new jersey and we look forward to wearing it in future games. It’s also fantastic that there will be a specific women’s fit version and our team thanks Umbro for creating that.”


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