The Mescal effect continues as O’Neills reports branded shorts as this year’s best-selling item.

Paul Mescal’s influence on O’Neill’s shorts sales continued into 2021 as the company reported its brand name shorts as the best-selling product of the year.

Paul Towell, co-owner of O’Neill’s, confirmed today that the €20 Morne short is «O’Neill’s best-selling product of 2021 and sales are up 30 percent over last year».

«Shorts are seen as very fashionable now.»

Towell said sales of the shorts increased in 2020 after Paul Mescal wore them on global closed-circuit television, Ordinary People.

Mr. Towell said shorts are now very popular among women.

He emphasized that the ‘Mescal effect’ played some role in the 2021 sales increase, but he also mentioned that people playing more games, exercising more and better weather this year also played a role in boosting sales in 2021.

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Cooraclare, a West Clare GAA club, recently raised more than €10,000 for the club’s facilities by raffle on a pair of shorts Paul Mescal signed for O’Neills. The Kildare man has close family ties to the club.

Towell said O’Neill’s sales for 2021 are now back to pre-Covid levels with sales of fake T-shirts increasing 20 percent in 2020.

The owner also mentioned that this year’s best-selling jersey was the May jersey, followed by Tyrone and Cork.

He said sales of Mayo and Tyrone shirts have helped the history of bringing all of Ireland back after the Covid-19 outbreak at Camp Tyrone.

«We had a good year in 2021. There was pent-up demand after stores were closed for the first third of the year.»

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Towell was commenting on new accounts provided by the Republic’s main O’Neill company, Balbriggan Textiles Ltd, which showed pre-tax profit fell marginally last year to 1.15 million euros.

This comes on the heels of an 8 percent drop in the company’s overall profit, from 12.1 million euros to 11.1 million euros.

Towell commented that O’Neills employee numbers on the island of Ireland are back to pre-Covid levels of close to 1,000.

He said O’Neill’s production of personal protective equipment allowed the company to keep production plants open last year.


Separate accounts for O’Neill’s Northern Ireland company, O’Neill’s Irish International Sports Limited, show its revenue increased 12.5 per cent in 2020 driven by «increased online sales as consumers adjust their buying behavior during the pandemic».

Last year, Towell said, online sales increased 20 percent.

The Strabane-based unit employs 725 and pre-tax profit fell slightly to £1.18 million with a gross profit of £8.6 million (€10 million). Staff costs totaled £12.5 million.

Towell said the Australian market, which was too strong for O’Neills last year, has been pulled back this year by the shutdown.

He also confirmed that O’Neills is in expansion mode again with construction currently underway for a new warehouse in Strabane that will create 20 to 30 jobs.

The project was postponed last year due to Covid-19.

Balbriggan Textiles at the end of December 2020 had a total accumulated profit of €21.69 million. Strabane’s cumulative earnings totaled £12.7 million.

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