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Greener shade of green: Athletics Ireland unveil new team kit

Irish athletes to wear the new kit in international competitions through to 2020

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Shane Aston (decathlon), Ciara Neville (60m), CX+Sport chief executive Tom MacGuinness and Mick Clohisey (marathon) at the unveiling of the latest Athletics Ireland team kit

A greener shade of green is the most noticeable feature of the latest Athletics Ireland team kit, to be produced by CX+ Sport in a new three-year sponsorship agreement. 

The deal was provisionally agreed earlier this summer ahead of the World Athletics Championships in London, but with only limited stock and colour palette at the time. It meant many of the Irish athletes were wearing black shorts and nearly all-black tracksuits, which didn’t sit well with some team members and also Sonia O’Sullivan.

“Unfortunately we only had a six-week lead in time for the World Championships so the kit was in no way the finished article, and our hands were tied with the stock we had at the time,” said a spokesperson for CX+ Sport, the Dundalk-based company which has expanded the Irish team kit to include a full green kit and leisurewear for medal ceremonies, travelling and public appearances.

“Everything has now been finished to the absolute highest standard in terms of functionality, technical features and fit and the athletes have been very happy with it.”

Writing in her column in this newspaper, in the aftermath of the World Championships, O’Sullivan said: “It didn’t feel like a good start when the first picture of Irish athletes arriving at the Olympic stadium had them dressed looking more like the New Zealand team in their all black tracksuits. Few countries are more associated with their national colours, so where was the green of Ireland? The singlet was a very nondescript shade of the green, the shorts black.

“It may seem a minor detail, but when you consider that for most of the year athletes train and compete in sport specific gear it can be one fine detail that creates a bit of tension in the already highly-strung environment of a World Championship event.”

The new contract was signed off by Athletics Ireland chief executive John Foley on Wednesday, and will see Irish athletes wear the new kit in all international competitions through to 2020.

This however excludes the Tokyo Olympics, as the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) holds that contract by right. However they remain without a kit sponsor after New Balance decided against renewing their contract with the OCI in the aftermath of the Rio Olympics.

CX+ Sport have hired an extra five members of staff on the back of the contract, increasing staff numbers to over 20 from a starting base of just four employees when the company was launched in 2015.

A subsidiary of Horseware Ireland, CX+ Sport is the current kit supplier to SSE Airtricity League champions Dundalk FC, their Louth neighbours, Drogheda United and current Danske Bank Premiership league leaders, Coleraine FC.