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This shirt is an unused Mick McCarthy match shirt from an international match in 1989. It is from either the friendly match against West Germany on September 6th 1989 or the 1990 World Cup Qualifier against Northern Ireland on October 11th 1989. McCarthy gave the shirt as a gift to a teammate at Olympic Lyon, the Argentina international forward Claudio Garcia. Garcia played at Lyon from 1988 to 1991 and McCarthy played there from April 1989 through until March 1990. Both players became good friends during their time together at the French club. McCarthy was involved in only two international matches while he was a player at Lyon - against West Germany and Northern Ireland, which is why I am sure that it was a spare shirt either of those two matches.

The shirt is a green, long-sleeved, home jersey. It is in immaculate condition and has clearly never been worn. Mick McCarthy hardly ever played wearing long-sleeved shirts - he was very much a short-sleeved man! There is a photo below from the Northern Ireland match showing him wearing a short-sleeved shirt. I have seen video footage of the friendly with West Germany and he wears a short-sleeved shirt in that game also. Around this time, players would have been given two shirts before every match: a short-sleeved shirt and a long-sleeved shirt. McCarthy always wore the short-sleeved shirt he was given. Therefore, there is no doubt in my mind that this was his spare shirt and not a shirt he actually wore.

The shirt can be identified as a match shirt for one reason primarily: there were never any long-sleeved replica shirts produced. Long-sleeved versions of this style of kit were only ever made available to the players to wear. There are one or two other fairly subtle differences also but that is the most obvious one.

Although the shirt was not actually worn by Mick McCarthy it is still a highly collectible jersey. McCarthy was an inspirational player and captain; he was not necessarily the most technically adept player to have ever played for Ireland but he always gave his very best. Jack Charlton built his successful Italy 1990 squad around McCarthy's strong tackling and no-nonsense leadership style. Even after all the fuss that was made following his very public disagreement with Roy Keane, it would not be unfair to regard Mick McCarthy as a legend of Irish football.