Boot Room: Oisín McConville - 'I came out of the shower and the boots were ripped to shreds'

"It was an unwritten rule in Cross that you didn’t wear white boots."
Boot Room: Oisín McConville - 'I came out of the shower and the boots were ripped to shreds'
Oisin McConville scores Armagh's winning point against Dublin in 2002. Picture: INPHO/Tom Honan
Oisin McConville scores Armagh's winning point against Dublin in 2002. Picture: INPHO/Tom Honan

Oisín McConville (Armagh) Puma King

2012 All-Ireland SFC semi-final winning point v Dublin

Those boots I wore for the first time about five or six days beforehand and I got the final out of them too.

I was on the radar with adidas at the time but I couldn’t wear them. I literally couldn’t because my feet would be sore. I really wanted to be able to wear them and I couldn’t.

So I stuck with Puma King for pure comfort and I’m still wearing them on the sideline for the same reason.

For the last 10 years of my football career, I never wore a pair of studded Puma Kings; it was always moulds.

Even when we were playing in the dead of winter and bad pitches, I’d have them on. I used to get so many looks when I was changing into them.

Boys would be saying: “You can’t go out in them,” but as I used to say to them: “When you have a bit of balance, you can wear anything.”

The original Puma King were great because they hid the laces.

If the laces are prominent enough on the boot it will affect the trajectory of the ball but with the tongue that came down over the laces helped to make the kick more consistent.

The one thing I did find as I got older was I went through pairs a lot quicker. I wasn’t like David Beckham changing for every game I played but I was going through four or five pairs a season. I wasn’t superstitious, I didn’t mind if they were new going into a big game.

If I felt the ones I was wearing were a bit loose or there was a tear I’d change into a new pair the Tuesday or Friday beforehand.

Other than stuffing them with paper when it was wet, I didn’t do anything with them. When I had the deal with Puma, they sent me some white boots.

I wasn’t going to wear them in a game but said I would use them for training. Bad idea. One night after training in Cross I came back out of the showers and they were ripped into shreds. It was an unwritten rule in Cross that you didn’t wear white boots.

The boys obviously didn’t like them and on a dirty November night the spanking brand new brilliance of them were going to be noticed. I never wore a pair of them again.

At one stage, I had a press full of boots and when I was retiring I gave them all away between myself and my mum to nephews, friends, and different things.

It was only after that when I realised I still needed a pair to walk up and down the sideline in the winter. I had to buy a pair again. I was sick. You go to underage training now and it’s the black boots that stand out.

The Crossmaglen unwritten rule about white boots no longer stands either but black is slowly but surely making a comeback.

- In conversation with John Fogarty

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