Kerry v Cork Munster

July 4, 2017

For those new to the blog, or who haven’t been here for a while, please find a refresher on the definitions and how the numbers are compiled here

Team Possessions Attacks Shots Scores Exp Pts
Kerry 54 40 31 1 – 23 19.41
Cork 48 37 30 0 – 15 20.83

At a macro level both teams recorded very similar numbers in terms of Attack & Shot Rate. Kerry had 6 more possessions (in the main from shots recovered & the throw-ins) but only ended up with one more shot. It was Kerry’s clinical finishing that saw then coast to victory.

If you’re explaining you’re losing … but the fact that Cork have a higher Expt Pts tally despite an 11 point beating takes some explaining.

There are two elements to this; the first is the 11 point gap which relates directly to the conversion rate of both teams. We’ll touch on that later. The second is the composition of the shots that allowed Cork to accumulate more Expt Pts.

Both teams had 4 attempts at goal. Cork had a further 26 point attempts to Kerry’s 27 however within that 26 were 10 deadballs and 16 attempts from play. Kerry had 6 deadballs and 21 point attempts. Deadball attempts are converted at a much higher rate than point attempts thus the gap in Expt Pts between the deadballs (Cork’s 10 = 8.23, Kerry’s 6 = 4.51) is such that it overcomes the gap in Expt Pts for the point attempts (Cork’s 16 = 7.76, Kerry’s 21 = 10.06). And that’s how Cork ended up with more Expt Pts.

How Kerry ended up with an 11 point win however is purely down to the Conversion Rates

Kerry’s shooting
As stated Kerry had 4 shots at goal scoring 1- 00. Which is slightly below expected. Their deadballs were flawless scoring 0 – 06 from 6. What stands apart however was their point taking where they manufactured an obscene Conversion Rate of 81% (0 – 17 from 21; Expt Pts +6.94). It was their 14th point attempt – in the 41st minute – before they failed to convert one. They are simply magnificent returns. For some context the average Conversion Rate from 2012 – 2016 was 46%. Dublin, in their drubbing of Westmeath, converted 76% (0 – 22 from 29).

Much has been made of Paul Geaney & James O’Donoghue’s prowess together (I believe it was the Examiner’s John Fogarty (@JohnFogartyIrl) who highlighted the fact that they’ve scored 5 – 58 from play when paired together in 11 Championship games) but what struck me was the supporting cast.

Combined Geaney & O’Donoghue had a stat line of 78% (0 – 07 from 9) with an Expt Pts return of +2.79. Very good indeed. But the supporting cast produced a combined 83% (0 – 10 from 12) with an Expt Pts of +4.15. Seven different players had just the one point attempt with six converting (extra shooting practise for Darran O’Sullivan it would seem ….)

Cork’s defence aided Kerry in their endeavours in that 57% (12 of the 21) of the point attempts were taken under little or no pressure. Whilst this intuitively seems high it is a new metric and we need to be careful about reading too much into it. In the above Westmeath rout 66% of Dublin’s shots were taken under little or no pressure. By the end of the year 57% will probably be on the high side but not ridiculous.

Speaking of new metrics I have started to track shot assists throughout a game. It is still raw, and subjective, but essentially looks to track those placing the bullet in the chamber for others, in this instance Geaney & O’Donoghue, to pull the trigger.

Given how quickly the ball is let into the full forward line it is no surprise to see the front three feature heavily here. What is surprising perhaps are Paul Murphy’s returns. Not surprising in the sense that he’s not capable of such a performance but more so in that he didn’t appear to feature prominently when watching the game live. He very quietly, and very efficiently, pulled the strings.

Cork

What of Cork? First the positives – they did create the four goal chances. Yes they only returned 0 – 01 but they did open Kerry up. Their deadballs were – as has been the case with Cork – more or less on point (0 – 08 from 10; Expt Pts of -0.23. Essentially average). In a game where the majority of the commentary has referenced Kerry’s forward play Cork managed 30 shots.

What failed them was (a) the aforementioned inability to slow Kerry’s shooters. Yes Kerry were on fire but they needed to place them under more pressure. And (b) their own shooting. They had 16 points attempts from play but only scored 0 – 06 (38%; Expt Pts of -1.76). Not only was it anaemic when compared to Kerry but it was well below the average.

What might be more damning than the returns is who was shooting. Outside Donncha O’Connor, who came on at half time only Mark Collins got more than one shot off. Kerrigan, Connolly, Coakley, Deane, K O’Driscoll and Hurley all only managed one shot each.

Kickouts

Kerry came out on top of the kickouts that crossed the 45 winning 61% (20 to Cork’s 13). From a “must clean up” perspective they will be unhappy that they only manufactured three shots from 9 of their own kickouts that went past the 45. They also lost two short ones when Cork pushed up. Symptomatic of their day Cork didn’t score off either but those instances could be devastating hammer blows in any other game.

Appendix

Shot Charts

Kerry’s shooting

Cork’s shooting

x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half from play, white = 2nd half, red = goal attempt

Galway v Mayo 2017 Connacht

June 13, 2017

For those new to the blog, or who haven’t been here for a while, please find a refresher on the definitions and how the numbers are compiled here

Team Possessions Attacks Shots Scores Exp Pts
Galway 59 37 28 0 – 15 15.23
Mayo 54 39 29 1 – 11 16.89

Outside of a few extra possessions both sides had an eerily similar outing to that of their 2016 encounter. In that game Galway had a 64% attack rate (v 63% here), 78% shot rate (v 76%) and a 52% conversion rate (v 54%) though their Expt Pts at ~11 was much lower in 2016 than the ~15 points here. Part of that divergence in Expt Pts was the fact that in 2016 Galway scored 1 – 01 from their two goal chances; here they missed the one lone attempt, from a relatively acute angle, by Gary O’Donnell early in the second half. Those three shots alone equate to a swing of 2.79 Expt Pts.

What of Mayo? In 2016 they recorded an attack rate of 79% (v 72% here) and a shot rate of 66% (v 74%). A slight adjustment on how they moved the ball in that they got inside Galway’s 45 at a lesser rate but managed more shots whilst in there however ultimately the net result was the same – 29 shots in both games. Again there are similarities in their shooting; getting 12 scores in both games for a conversion rate of 41% whilst the Expt pts was -2.89 in 2017 and -3.20 in 2016.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

Mayo’s shooting

Mayo’s goal & deadball attempts were average – which given the prevailing conditions in Salthill was probably better than could be expected. They scored 1 goal from their three attempts whilst Cillian O’Connor returned 0 – 05 from his 7 deadball attempts with both misses coming from the 45 and beyond. As stated a reasonable, acceptable, standard day.

What let them down, badly, was their point taking. In total they scored 0 – 06 from 19 attempts for a conversion rate of 32% (Expt Pts of -2.78). You could blame the conditions – and they were very difficult – but Galway had a stat line of 0 – 07 from 17 (41% conversion rate; -0.30 Expt Pts. Basically average). You could also blame shot selection but again the Expt Pts shows that they should have returned 0 -10 from the shots attempted. Where they took their shots from was not an issue. There was a degree of difficulty added by the conditions but nothing that would compensate for such poor returns.

What adds to the fact that it was Mayo – and not some other criteria – is the fact that it mirrored 2016. Then Mayo scored 0 – 05 from 19 attempts (26% conversion rate; Ext Pts of -4.20). Mayo’s wider attacking malaise can be further illustrated by the fact that Cillian O’Connor had 10 attempts across the two games (26% of Mayo’s total) but only scored 0 – 01 (Ext Pts of -4.21). There’s no question re his fight, desire, willingness to go to the final minute but when he’s not converting Mayo will struggle as there is no one else to pick up the slack. Be that in a volume or an accuracy sense.

Galway’s defence

Can we attribute any of Mayo’s poor shooting to Galway’s defence? Surely it cannot be a coincidence that two of Mayo’s worst offensive displays – production wise – occurred against Galway?

Firstly Johnny Heaney was heroic here in blocking the two goal attempts – if either one of those go in the narrative (that dreaded word) around this game is very different. We can definitely chalk that up to the defence! Perhaps a more repeatable marker is that 13 of Mayo’s 19 (68%) point attempts were taken under strong or severe pressure. We have only just started to properly grade this pressure metric but as a reference Mayo recorded 50% & 44% “high” levels of pressure on Dublin’s point attempts in the 2016 final and replay. I’ve no doubt 66% will be on the high side come year end. Galway were excellent at pressurising the Mayo shooter.

… and yet it was not all down to Galway; Mayo missed all 6 attempts that were taken under little or no pressure ….

Galway’s shooting

Galway’s shooting from play was average; 0 – 07 from 17 attempts for a 41% Conversion Rate and an Expt Pts return of -0.30. Again given the condition this was quite good.

What was very good however was their deadball striking. In total they returned 0 – 08 from their 10 deadball attempts with Armstrong returning a very good 0 – 06 from 8 (including 3 from 3 on frees and an overall Expt Pts tally of +0.86; his excellent striking basically added 1pt above what an average day would have returned). Normally this would be a place to bash any defence that gave up 10 frees but in this instance 5 of those deadballs were 45s.
These can be attributed to player or defence on an individual basis but you are quite unlucky to give up 5 in a game where the opposition only has one shot on goal.

Kickouts

Both teams diced with death at times losing a combined 6 of their 26 short kickouts. Galway had the best ultimate return here however scoring 0 – 03 directly from these short kickouts. Mayo didn’t manage to return anything from the two Galway short ones they won.

14 (35%) of all the kickouts went past the 45 with honours being split evenly at 7 apiece. Unsurprisingly, given the high turnover rate within the game, only 3 of these 14 possessions progressed to a shot.

APPENDIX
Galway’s shot chart

Mayo’s shot chart

x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half from play, white = 2nd half, red = goal attempt

Derry v Tyrone 2017 Ulster

May 30, 2017

For those new to the blog, or who haven’t been here for a while, please find a refresher on the definitions and how the numbers are compiled here

Team Possessions Attacks Shots Scores Exp Pts
Derry 44 38 26 0 – 11 13.81
Tyrone 53 49 42 0 – 22 23.59

That is as comfortable a game as a team is likely to have. Tyrone had 9 more possessions, 11 more attacks and a whopping 16 more shots than Derry. There are examples of such disparities where teams begin to rack up numbers towards the back end of a game, as the competitive edge has gone out of the encounter, but (sadly) this was not the case here. When the game was – notionally – at its most competitive in the first half Tyrone had six more attacks and eight more shots.

Derry shooting
Although each game takes on a life of its own there are some stark similarities to the 2016 meeting (see here) . Then the gap in Expt Pts was ~8.5pts. Here it was just under 10pts. Below is a straight lift from the 2016 game review …

Derry had 18 attempts for a point from play throughout the game; only two of those came from inside the prime scoring zone (extending from the D in towards the goal) with none at all in the 2nd half. Outside of this only one other point attempt came from inside the 20m line. Derry’s fundamental lack of attacking speed allowed Tyrone to set defensively which in turn aided them in repelling Derry away from the most productive shooting zones. Derry were then forced to try less productive long range efforts.

Below are the Derry point attempts from play in the first half. Their whole game shot chart is in the Appendix. You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results.

Tyrone shooting
Tyrone had their way with the Derry defence returning a 92% Attack Rate & an 86% Shot Rate. This was off an already enlarged possession total. What will (should!) concern them however is – as ever – their shooting. A score of 0 – 22 looks very impressive but with the chances they had they should have scored more (total Ext Pts of -1.59) – the high score was as a result of volume rather than accuracy.

It could be argued that this view – that they had a poor shooting outing – is on the harsh end as the negative Expt Pts return includes their two goal attempts being blocked/saved as well as some simple frees being missed (Harte’s left footed effort in the first minute being a prime example). When we only review point attempts from play the view is somewhat rosier; 0 – 13 from 27 attempts (an average. conversion rate of 48% but a positive Expt Pts of +1.11 indicating harder shots were converted).

Dig a little deeper though and 21 of those 27 shots were taken under no – or very little – pressure (another indictment of the Derry defence). Yes the next day their frees, or goal chances, might compensate for more pressurised point attempts. But what happens in August when they don’t get a goal, get five frees instead of 11 in a game and their shooting comes under a lot more pressure?

Tyrone free taking
Free taking has been a problem for Tyrone. Over the last 3 Championships they have returned a poor 61% (0 – 39 from 64; Expt Pts -4.00).

Shots Scores Conversion % Expt Pts Vs Expt Pts
D McCurry 17 0 – 10 59% 11.24 -1.24
N Morgan 14 0 – 06 43% 7.05 -1.05
C McAlliskey 11 0 – 09 82% 7.84 1.16
R O’Neill 10 0 – 05 50% 8.15 -3.15
S Cavanagh 7 0 – 06 86% 5.22 0.78
P Harte 5 0 – 03 60% 3.50 -0.50

This 61% is in stark contrast to a combined 84% from Rock & C O’Connor over the last two years.

Against Derry they were 73% (0 – 08 from 11; Expt Pts -0.50). Again – in a game with little or no pressure – their shooting was below average. The one bright spark was Séan Cavanagh who hit 0 – 06 from7 (86%; Expt Pts +0.38). As the above table shows he hasn’t taken many frees of late but when he did he was accurate. That flowed through to this game.

As a designated starter, and given Tyrone’s travails of late, it may be best for Tyrone’s to leave him on the frees. If he does nothing more than hit average then this will be an improvement.

Appendix

Derry’s shot chart

Tyrone’s shot chart

x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half from play, white = 2nd half, red = goal attempt

O’Connor & Rock from frees (Rd3 of league)

March 3, 2017

From an analysis and review standpoint I am forever railing against recency bias. This “railing” comes about however because of its pervasiveness. It’s an in-built near automatic response. And of course I fell into the trap myself.

Watching the Mayo – Roscommon game last week Cillian O’Connor missed a central free about 33metres out and I had immediate flashbacks to (a) a number of missed frees in the previous round against Kerry and (b) that missed free in last year’s All Ireland final.

Was this latest missed free a sign of some cliff having been reached? Was one of Mayo’s most consistent weapons beginning to malfunction? Of course not.

oconnor-post-rd3

In the three league games to date O’Connor has hit 79% of his frees. Well above the ~72% Championship average. On Expt Pts his tally is -0.39; he has basically scored what is expected. Now the argument could be made that someone with O’Connor’s reputation should be in positive Expt Pts territory. Fine. However we must always remember that the Expt Pts tally is based off Championship returns. Frees taken in (mainly) pristine weather on (mainly) pristine surfaces. O’Connor is fine. To be slightly off in the middle of the league is acceptable? For comparison Dean Rock is running at 75% conversion rate with an Expt Pts tally of -0.86.

rock-post-rd3

What I did argue however in last year’s All Ireland review is that O’Connor had an arc outside of which he was vulnerable (the missed free in the drawn All Ireland being right on this arc). Given weather, pitch conditions etc. it is fair to expect that arc to contract at this time of year and if we placed this contracted arc over O’Connor’s frees to date then I would suggest that arguement is still relevant. He has taken 6 frees on the edges of this constricted arc and converted 3 – 50% Success Rate. He has also missed his only 45.

So in conclusion – bloody recency bias!! But O’Connor is generally fine and still remains one of the most consistent free takers once within his range.

Expected Wins – 2016 season

January 27, 2017

In 2015 we introduced the idea of Expected Wins (“Expt Wins”) which reviews a team’s season, on a game by game basis, versus what they were expected to do using bookmaker’s odds. There are undoubtedly drawbacks to this which are expanded upon in the original article (here) however it is an interesting prism to view the season through rather than just looking at those that had a “good Championship”

2016 Top Performers

Team Games played Wins Win % Expt Wins above/below Expt Pts Win % rank Expt Wins rank
Clare 14 9 64% 5.465 +3.535 5 1
Dublin 16 15 94% 12.218 +2.782 1 2
Longford 10 5 50% 3.430 +1.570 =11 3
Louth 11 7 64% 5.483 +1.517 6 4
Carlow 10 4 40% 2.750 +1.250 =18 5

As can be expected those teams that have a good winning percentage are also high up on the Expt Wins ranking. Keep winning and you’ll consistently outperform your odds and thus your Expected Wins. Dublin, despite their very short odds at times and thus very high Expt Win total, being the poster child for this.

The two teams that had the most unexpected run in the Championship – Clare and Tipperary – are both comfortably in the top10 (Tipperary are joint 6th with an Expt Win total of +0.889) as they made a mockery of their odds at times. Indeed Clare also had an excellent league campaign, winning five of their eight games and picking up the Division 3 title, which helped them climb to first in the table.

Longford had a lesser league campaign winning three of their seven games but completed one of the shocks of the Championship beating Monaghan away in the qualifiers at odds of 15/2 which accounted for nearly all their positive Expt Win total. Removing the bookmaker’s margin they were expected to win that game ~8% of the time.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is Carlow. They won three games in the league for the first time since 2012 (when there was an extra game as Kilkenny played boosting everyone’s win volume in Division4!) whilst also recording only their second Championship win since the end of the 2011 campaign. You won’t read about Carlow having a good season anywhere … but the fact they outperformed expectations to such an extent should ensure it is considered as such.

Versus the Handicap

Another way to review a team is through the prism of the handicap. Bookmakers will tell you that they set the handicap line according to what they think their customers will back, thus giving them an even book, rather than the respective merits of the teams. Public perception, along with the strengths of the team, thus feeds into the handicap line. Even still it is quite a good barometer of how teams are expected to perform. So how did teams fare against the handicap and also the two rankings above?

Team Games played Games covered Cover % Cover Rank Win % rank Expt Wins rank
Kerry 13 10 76.9% 1 =2 =6
Louth 11 8 72.7% =2 6 4
Fermanagh 11 8 72.7% =2 =20 11
Tyrone 13 8 61.5% =4 =2 =8
Cavan 13 8 61.5% =4 =10 9

Only Louth appear in the Top5 of both the Expt Win and Handicap rankings though in truth all 5 that covered the handicaps most often were also high up in the Expt Wins Ranking.

Fermanagh may have only won four of their 11 games in 2016 (two at home in the league, the home win versus Antrim in the Ulster Championship and then away to Wexford in the qualifiers) however they were a tough nut to crack with only 3 teams managing to beat them on the handicap (Cavan winning by 6 in Brewster Park, Derry in the opening round of the league and Donegal in the Ulster championship). Indeed that Cavan game was the only one of the five that Fermanagh played at home where they failed to cover the handicap. We saw something similar in 2015 when they covered in five of the six games played at home. Fortress Brewster!

But this all buries the lead. Kerry were excellent against the handicap (see Note1) where they only failed to cover in the opening two rounds of the league, against Dublin and Roscommon, and again in the league final. We have seen a phenomenon of double digit favourites tending not to cover (see Note2) but when a big favourite in 2016 (11 + 10 versus Clare in their two games and 9 versus Tipperary in the Munster final) Kerry covered each time. They don’t get dragged down by “lesser” opposition – they play to their own level.

2016 Worst Performers

Team Games played Wins Win % Expt Wins above/below Expt Pts Win % rank Expt Wins rank
Cork 11 5 45% 6.617 -1.617 15 28
Limerick 10 1 10% 2.799 -1.799 31 29
Monaghan 14 4 36% 5.829 -1.829 =20 30
Down 9 0 0% 1.960 -1.960 32 31
Armagh 10 2 20% 3.963 -1.963 29 32

It is no surprise, given that league games can make up 60% to 70% of a poor team’s season that relegated teams feature heavily here. Between them Cork, Down, Armagh & Limerick mustered five wins from their 28 league games.

Down didn’t register a win in 2016 however Armagh, despite winning two games, came out slightly worse on Expt Wins. This is due to the fact that they were expected to be competitive in Division2. Outside of the Round6 game away to Tyrone, when the reality of their form was beginning to catch up with their odds, the largest price they were in any league game was 7/4. They also played three (see Note3) Championship games where they were given a good chance of winning each (2/1, 11/10 & 9/4) but came away with three losses.

Down on the other hand started slowly and continued to plummet. They may have lost all nine games but were only ever expected to win ~1.96 of those. Armagh were expected to win ~3.96 of theirs.

Monaghan had an average league campaign winning three of their seven games when they were expected to win ~3.1 games. Their issues were in the Championship where they had two 50:50 games with Donegal but won neither and then lost as 1/12 favourites at home to Longford. That loss alone equates to -0.893 Expt Wins.

Versus the handicap

Team Games played Games covered Cover % Cover Rank Win % rank Expt Wins rank
Laois 12 4 33.3% =28 =24 =23
Derry 12 4 33.3% =28 17 25
Waterford 9 3 33.3% =28 28 27
Down 9 3 33.3% =28 32 31
Wicklow 9 2 22.2% 32 =24 21

This is the “hope you weren’t relying on these guys throughout the year” listing.

Similar to the positive performers table there is only one team – Down – that appears in the worst list for both Expt Wins and handicap rankings. Again like the top performers those at the bottom of the handicap ranking are also in the bottom third of the Expt Wins ranking.

Waterford & Wicklow appear in the bottom 5 for the second year running. Combining 2015 & 2016 they are running at a 28% cover rate (9 games from 32).

We have already seen one of the teams relegated from Division2 – Armagh – appear in the “worst performing” category so it’s no surprise to see the other two teams that filled out the bottom three of that division make an appearance here. Division2 was seen as ultra-competitive at the start of the year and this was followed through with a high volume of games with a close handicap (see Note4). Once teams started to underperform they were going to struggle against the handicap.

Notes

Note1; what is more remarkable, and a cautionary tale re taking trends at face value, is that Kerry were in the bottom two in this metric in 2015. Then they covered in 31% (4 out of 13) of their games. We must always remember that we are dealing with very small sample sizes (and margins) here where a point or two can have a huge effect.

Note2; twenty teams since the start of the 2015 league campaign have started as double digit favourites. Only 7 (35%) have managed to cover this.

Note3; Although the first Laois game was declared null and void it was played as if it was a Championship game and we have odds & a result for it so it is included overall.

Note4; 86% (25 games out of 29) had a handicap of 2 or less in Division2. This was 52% for Division1, 83% for Division3 and 48% for Division4

Thinking out loud; In GAA betting the handicap is intrinsically linked to the match price. If those with high Expt Wins (essentially odds on shots) generally cover at a better rate, and the corollary is true for those with low Expt Wins are the linkages between match price and handicap line “out”?

Early Conversion Rates are poor – why?

November 10, 2016

Early Conversion Rates

Whilst uploading the 2016 data into the database I was noodling around in the numbers and produced a simple chart for production on Twitter.

graph-1-overview

Something was quite obviously happening in the first 10 minutes that saw the cumulative Conversion Rates much lower than the average. There were two initial thoughts

1. a number of “lower level” teams were dragging the average down early in games (either through just poor shooting or an inability to get “quality” shots off against better teams early on when the scoreboard was close)
2. shooting types, and where shots were being taken from, were so different in the frantic opening periods of games that the early Conversion Rates were being skewed

Upon doing some more superficial digging it appears that neither were the case

1. Conversion Rates by teams

graph-2-by-team

The phenomenon (of Conversion Rates being lower early on) was observed in three of the four semi-finalists (NOTE1) whilst all other teams followed the overall trend to a tee. The only outliers – unsurprisingly – were Dublin.

2. Expected Points over time

graph-3-expt-pts

The above is a replica of the Conversion Rate chart but replacing Conversion Rates with Expected Points (Expt Pts). Although the shape of the chart is different than the original the occurrence of poor early returns is still evident. And by using Expt Pts we remove the shooting types as an issue as Expt Pts bakes in the difficulty of a shot (NOTE2). All shots are being converted at a lower rate than expected until around the 30th minute but teams are noticeably struggling in the first 15 minutes.

Conversion Rates by shot type

So the phenomenon is real but cannot be attributed to a specific team type nor to shot selection/execution. It is across the board except for Dublin. Three shots types – free kicks, point & goal attempts from play – make up ~97% of all shots. Is there anything we can determine from investigating these shot types independently to explain this poor shooting in those early exchanges? And is there anything therein that explains how Dublin are managing to avoid this poor shooting early on?

Free kicks

graph-4-by-free

This is probably the most surprising, and hardest to attribute, of all the results. When the very first chart was produced on Twitter I mischievously suggested that whatever all the back-up teams were doing to get teams warmed up they needed to change it. There were some good responses re the intensity of teams, especially in the pressure applied to shots, being higher early on. Or that teams were defensively more conservative early on leaving less space for clear shots. All plausible and probably have a grain of truth. However none applicable to free kicks – and the phenomenon of poor conversion rates early on is noticeable here too.

Now by slicing the volumes into the first 10 minutes of one season’s games we are running in to sample size issues. Specifically for this segment the volume is 47 so this comes with a rather large health warning.

Assuming games are now 80 minutes the first 10 minutes make up 12.5% of the game; the 47 frees in the first 10 minutes make up 13% of all frees. On top of that the two main free takers – D Rock & C O’Connor – make up 21% of all frees in the first 10 minutes whereas they make up 25% of all frees in the database for 2016. So the first 10 minutes, low sample size and all, are representative of the whole year. So what happens in those opening 10 minutes?

Shots Scores Expt Pts Conversion % v Expt Pts
All frees 47 29 32.8 62% -3.8
Rock & O’Connor 10 9 7.8 90% +1.2
Others 37 20 25.0 54% -5.0

What the above table shows is that Rock & O’Connor were on point from the get go. Overall for the year they combined for an 86% Conversion Rate and in the first 10 minutes they were 90%.

If the two main protagonists were on point the rest of the free takers must be dragging the averages down from 71% overall to 62% in the first 10 minutes. And as the table shows this is the case. Indeed they were very poor returning a paltry 54% (the 80 minute average for all free takers outside Rock & O’Connor was 66%).

And this somewhat negates the argument for lower Conversion Rates early on being affected by what the opposition’s defence is doing. The opposition can’t really affect free taking. Outside of Rock & O’Connor it looks like free takers were just not ready early on (NOTE3).

Points from play

graph-5-from-play

The Conversion Rate for 2016 was 44.2% and for the five years from 2012 was 45.8%. For the first 10 minutes of 2016 games the conversion rate was 36% and only rose to a cumulative 38% by 20 minutes. Again the Expt Pts was lower in the first 10 minutes (-15.70) as against the remainder of the game (+5.84).

I do track whether a shot was taken under pressure however have only used it anecdotally to date as it is a simple “Y/N” flag and is probably not nuanced enough for any concrete use. Having said that however there is only one person applying the flag so we would expect a certain degree of consistency of application across the ~1,000 shots tracked here.

In the first 10 minutes I charted 53.6% of all point attempts occurring whilst under pressure. The remainder of the time it was 54.2%. Near enough as makes no difference.

So the poor shooting for points from play is real, is not linked to poorer shot types (as evidenced by the Expt Pts return) and from the empirical data we have is not linked to greater pressure applied earlier on in the game. I am completely open to the intensity of the pressure being different early on (NOTE4) but if this was the case you would expect some uptick early on in the percentage of shots marked as taken under some/any pressure in this timeframe. There is none.

There may be other non measurable factors such as nerves (these are amateurs after all) but as of now I can’t come up with anything other than the aforementioned “mischievous” reason that players are just not at peak performance early on. Maybe this is to be expected?

So what of Dublin? We saw that their early conversion Rates outperformed everyone else. This is in part due to the fact that Dean Rock went 5 from 5 on his frees but how was their shooting from play?

Shots Scores Expt Pts Conversion % v Expt Pts
Dublin 23 9 10.2 39% -1.2
Mayo 28 8 12.0 29% -4.0
Tyrone 19 8 8.7 42% -0.7
Donegal 17 4 7.4 24% -3.4
Tipperary 13 5 6.8 38% -1.8
All first 10 179 65 80.7 36% -15.7

Again volumes are low (NOTE5) but Dublin were no great shakes early on. Yes they were above the average for the first 10 minutes but they still underperformed when compared to the whole game average and their Expt Pts – like all the teams above – was below 0.00.

Perhaps the most striking return here is Mayo. From the 10th minute onwards they were exactly in line with Dublin (Mayo 49% on 126 shots with an Expt Pts of +5.59; Dublin 49% on 132 shots with an Expt Pts of +5.54) but for those first 10 minutes they were much poorer.

Another theory for the poor start was not where teams were shooting from but who was shooting – less pressure on returns early on so midfielders/defenders were more inclined to “have a pop”. So I had a look at Mayo’s shot distribution. In the first 10 minutes 64% of their shots came from what I would state are obvious offensive players (A Moran, A O’Shea, J Doherty, A Dillon and the two O’Connor’s). From the 10th minute onwards, and adding E Regan, C O’Shea and A Freeman to this mix who didn’t have a shot in the first 10, these forwards accounted for 60% of point attempts (NOTE6).

It is difficult to attribute offensive/defensive tags to all players in today’s game but if there was a decisive split in who was shooting for teams you would expect it to show up in the team with perhaps the worst split. But it doesn’t.

Goal Attempts

graph-6-goal-attempts

To be honest I am just including the above for consistency and to help explain Dublin’s apparent ability to start faster than others. Whilst I have consistently cautioned against low sample sizes it is an overarching feature of this shot type and can explain a lot of the variance within the five minute groupings above. In total there were 137 goal attempts with just 15 in the first 10 minutes and 36 within the first 20.

Having said all that …. the Conversion Rate for goal attempts was 53% in 2016 and only crawled up to 40% after 15 minutes. With the evidence we have teams again were not converting on goal attempts early on in games.

Dublin? They had six goal attempts in the first 10 minutes scoring 3-00. 50%. And there is their apparent early start in a nutshell. They were 50% on goal attempts, 100% on deadballs (as well as Rock’s aforementioned frees he was 2 from 2 on 45s as well) and slightly below average at 39% on point attempts – giving them the aggregate of ~52% early doors.

Overview

This is based on one year’s data (NOTE7) but poor early conversion rates were definitley a “thing” that year

There is no evidence that shot selection (through Expt Pts), opposition pressure (through the simple “Y/N” flag) nor type of shooter (using Mayo as an example) is any different in the first 10 minutes to the rest of the game

It is also evident in early free taking, except for the very best in Rock & O’Connor who were on point from the very start, which somewhat nullifies the theory that it is something the opposition is doing to affect the shooting.

There are undoubtedly other factors at play. Some can be measured; first shot in the game, effect of new surroundings, debutants vs more experienced players, intensity of pressure. Some we may never be able to measure – nerves, mentality of players early on versus later in the game, etc.

But as of now, and taking all of the above into account, I cannot escape the initial gut reaction that players are just not ready – for whatever reason – early on

NOTE1 – we need to be careful with any segmentation. There are only 1,640 shots in total being reviewed here with 249 in the first 10 minutes. Segment that further by team and you get some ridiculous numbers; Kerry just have the 7 shots across two 2016 games; similarly Tipperary only have 16 shots in the same timeframe. You can’t make any judgements on those numbers. In truth I would not normally use a chart with such low volumes but I include it here as it was the chart that sparked me into looking deeper into the issue.

NOTE2 – for more on why this is so please see here

NOTE3 – I had a further look at the non Rock & O’Connor frees to see if any one player was having an effect. There was none really. 34 of the 37 were a player’s first attempt in the game which makes sense as it is uncommon for a team to have two shots at goal from a free in the opening 10 minutes.

This leads to a further corroboration that could be investigated – across the year’s how does a player’s very first free kick equate to the rest of their results?

NOTE4 – I started to grade pressure on a sliding 0 – 3 scale for the two All Ireland finals. It feels a lot more robust as having to apply a grade makes you stop and think. It will be very instructive from here on in but as of now I’m not inclined to go back over the entire season to retrospectively apply the grade(s)!

NOTE5 – This table lists all the teams with >10 shots from play in the first ten minutes. Again we are running into sample size issues.

NOTE6 – the non offensive players with a shot in the first 10 minutes were B Moran, D Vaughan, K McLoughlin, L Keegan, P Durcan & T Parsons. Other defensive players with shots post the 10th minute were C Boyle, K Higgins, S O’Shea, S Coen, B Harrison & K Keane

Note that whilst some of these could be moved into the “offensive” pot their individual shot volumes are such that it wouldn’t make a material difference to the overall point.

NOTE7 – why one year? Because for some unknown reason I didn’t track the time (outside of 1st half/2nd half) for previous years. Hell of an oversight in retrospect! The only reason I started in 2016 was I was so bored of looking at kickouts so decided to look at the rest of the game. I have one or two other pieces I newly gathered in 2016 so hoping to get another long form piece out on those

2016 Shooting review

November 2, 2016

Time for the annual review of how the season’s shooting went.

All shots Frees Point attempts Goal Attempts
2012 51.7% 70.6% 47.3% 39.8%
2013 50.5% 70.6% 44.7% 41.9%
2014 51.3% 76.8% 44.8% 47.9%
2015 53.8% 70.9% 48.5% 51.2%
2016 51.5% 71.1% 44.2% 52.9%

In truth 2016 was an average year. The three shot types listed above account for 96.4% of all shots and whilst there is some movement in each category there is nothing that really warrants further investigation.

Frees

This has been *the* most stable metric since the inception of the blog and 2016 was no different. Slight uptick but nothing exceptional. We looked at the 2014 increase here and, at the time, attributed it to better accuracy for closer in frees.

Point attempts

2015 saw an increase in accuracy for point attempts however this was a blip rather than the beginning of any trend as 2016 returns slipped back to 2013 & 2014 levels.

Goal attempts

The step up in accuracy observed in 2014 & 2015 was maintained in 2016. Teams have definitely become better at getting a return from their goal chances but not necessarily at their finishing. The above table includes any goal shot that returned a goal or a point. If we strip out the points then the goal conversion rate is 35%, 32%, 36%, 41% & 40% respectively. The step up in 2014 & 2015 is evidenced again however was maintained, rather than built upon, in 2016.

Dublin v Mayo 2016 All Ireland Final Replay

October 5, 2016

For those new to the blog, or who haven’t been here for a while, please find a refresher on the definitions and how the numbers are compiled here

Team Possessions Attacks Shots Scores Exp Pts
Dublin 49 38 26 1 – 15 17.59
Mayo 48 36 25 1 – 14 15.62

Attack Rates, Shot Rates, Conversion Rates and points per possessions; all the main metrics were incredibly even – as to be expected in a one point game that lasted over 80 minutes – but was there anything in particular that got Dublin over the line?

Dublin shooting

Deadballs

Dublin, and thus Dean Rock, were spectacular on the day from deadballs converting 100% from eight attempts with an Expt Pts of +2.10. Connolly’s penalty was inch perfect but coming in to the year the conversion rate was 83% (24 goals from 29 shots) so the Expt Pts for a penalty is very high at 2.48. He is expected to convert that. The positive Expt Pts is almost entirely Rock’s.

He scored 0 – 07 on seven attempts with an Expt Pts of +1.58. This from the player who returned a Conversion Rate of 43% (0 – 03 from 7 shots & an Expt Pts of -1.58) in the drawn game. He was essentially removed from frees in last year’s final taking just two of the nine Dublin deadballs after converting just 40% (0 – 02 from five) in that year’s semi-final. That was a performance with an exclamation mark.

This, along with the performance against Kerry in this year’s semi-final (0 – 10 from 11 attempts & Expt Pts of +2.48), should banish any notion that he cannot deliver on the big day. More on Cillian O’Connor below but both himself and Rock are now clearly the best free takers in the country.

Goal chances

One of the more remarkable aspects of the final was the fact that Dublin did not manufacture a shot on goal from play. They did have a few breaks through the middle, such as McManamon being stripped by Harrison after the long kickout from Cluxton or Fitzsimons strolling through the centre at the death, but never got to pull the trigger.

This is the first game since 2012 that this has happened and credit is due to the collective Mayo defence. Especially how they learned the lessons from the first day with Fenton not being allowed drift in behind at any stage.

Point attempts

Dublin recorded a 44% Conversion Rate (0 – 08 from 18) and an Expt Pts tally of -1.69 when shooting from play. In and of itself this is poor but set against the returns from the drawn game (30% from 20 shots and an Expt Pts tally of -3.03) and how Mayo handled Tipperary and Tyrone (26% & -3.11 and 27% & -3.36) it was a step up.

In the drawn game it was highlighted how 50% of Dublin’s scores came from shots with no pressure applied whilst Mayo were able to apply intense pressure to 45% of their shots. Dublin only converted 22% (0 – 02 from 9 attempts) of those taken under this pressure.

Mayo managed to apply the same levels of intense pressure here (44%, 8 of 18 attempts) however Dublin’s shooting was better scoring on 50% (0 – 04) as opposed to the 22% in the drawn game. The level of pressure is illustrated b the fact that Mayo blocked three of those eigth but Dublin just squeezed more out.

That’s not to say that all their shooting was good or improved. I graded 8 shots where no pressure was applied with Dublin only scoring 0 – 03. Undoubtedly it is due to small sample size randomness but on the day those shooting under intense pressure performed better than those that had no pressure applied.

Mayo Shooting

Goal attempts

Mayo had one shot at goal and what a shot. A beautiful goal by Keegan.

A lot of ink was spent on the run up to the game on the battle between Connolly & Keegan and the impact/intensity of that battle can be viewed through the two point attempts they combined for. On Keegan’s point attempt in the 25th minute it is Connolly flying in to put him off. For Connolly’s point attempt in the 34th minute it is Keegan flying in to try – unsuccessfully – and put Connolly off.

keegan-goal-v-dublin

I bring the point attempts up above as when Keegan takes the shot at goal Connolly is not in the picture. When S O’Shea launches the ball into A O’Shea on the 45 Connolly (11) has Keegan (5) within arm’s length but doesn’t track him. By the time Keegan pulls the trigger it is Fitzsimons (22) who has put in an incredible shift from trying to block O’Shea’s kick pass to get back on Keegan’s heel.

Point attempts

Mayo converted 38% of their point attempts (0 – 05 from 13 shots) with an Expt Pts of -0.85.

Dublin managed to properly pressurise five of those 13 shots (38% – similar to Mayo’s 44% on Dublin’s shooting) which was a big step up from the Dublin defence. The last day they only managed to pressurise two, or 11%, of Mayo’s point attempts.

Mayo responded well to this pressure scoring 0 – 03 from the five shots taken under pressure. The problem came when they were placed under no, or minimal, pressure. Here they only scored 0 – 02 from 8 attempts (25% – in the draw game it was 0 – 09 from 16 attempts – 56%).As an illustration C O’Shea & Jason Doherty dropped shots into the goalkeeper’s hands from very central positions when under no pressure whilst Andy Moran pulled one wide from the left inside the 20m line.

They created the chances – the execution just wasn’t there.

Deadballs

Up until the final free kick Cillian O’Connor had been flawless converting 100% of his frees (0 – 09 from 9 attempts) with an Expt Pts of +1.34. This followed on from converting 100% of his frees (0 – 05 frees from 5 attempts) in the drawn game.

And then we had that final free. The average, from 2012 -2015, for the area of the pitch that the free was attempted from (sector6) was 64% on 650 attempts. For the same period I have O’Connor converting 75% from this sector (0 – 09 from 12 attempts). Unsurprisingly, given his overall returns, O’Connor has been – historically – above average from this range.

coc-deadballs-2016

His shot charts for frees in 2016 is above. Overall he was 77% with an Expt Pts of +1.28 and 67% in Sector 6. Below his historical averages but nothing untoward.

What is apparent from the above however is that there is an arc – in the same shape as the D but starting inside the two “x”s at the 20m line above – outside of which is accuracy becomes human! Every free taker has this arc. Basically his range. But in this instance the final free (marked in the above with a black “x”) is right on the O’Connor’s 2016 arc. He had two frees from a similar range against Galway and Westmeath converting one and missing the other.

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows the esteem I hold O’Connor’s deadball ability in. He is the best around (though Rock has now joined him). There is no one else I would want taking that free but it was no “gimme”. It was right on the edge of his 2016 comfort zone.

Kickouts

Mayo won 14 of their 20 kickouts. Of those six were taken by Clarke with Mayo gaining possession on all six whist the split was 8 – 6 in Mayo’s favour when Hennelly was in goal. On its own that looks very poor for Hennelly however of Clarke’s six kickouts we only saw where five landed and of those four (80%) went short. Dublin did not pressurise the recipient on any of these four. Clarke’s kickouts were very safe.

Of Hennelly’s 14 kickouts only six, or 43% ,went short. Hennelly, whether by choice, by design or due to the Dublin press went longer than Clarke and as such placed more in harm’s way. The flip side of this is that Mayo had a net score of four points on Hennelly’s 14 kickouts (scored 1-03 and let in 0-02 directly from the possession’s gained) whereas the net benefit of winning Clarke’s six short kickouts was 0 – 01

A lot has been written about the decision to start Hennelly, and the success of kickouts is as much to do with the outfield players as it is the goalkeeper, but Hennelly was, despite the commentary, coming out on top in terms of end product on the kickouts.

Again the commentary was that Cluxton had a superb game from kickouts. He undoubtedly had some absolute peaches in the second half when he pinged two straight to Flynn & McManamon in midfield but is our view of the overall performance coloured by these just after the Mayo keeper switch?

Mayo lost six out of 20, Dublin lost five out of 21. Better but by no means outstandingly so. By the time Hennelly had lost six Cluxton had lost four. Mayo had a net gain of four points. Dublin? Broke even. Scored 0-02 from the possessions they gained on their own kickout but also conceded 0 – 02 fro he five they lost.

Again a goalkeeper’s role is not all about kickouts. Nor is the goalkeeper the sole reason for a kickout ending to a score. I may be trying to push too positive a spin on Hennelly’s performance (forget trying – I am pushing!) *but* the very negative narrative – in comparison to the very positive one on Cluxton’s – around Hennelly’s kickouts just doesn’t ring entirely true.

Appendix

For a wrap up find the stats for the two games combined below

dublin-mayo-finals-2016-combined

How anyone can categorically state that this Mayo team is “gone”, or “cannot win” the big one is beyond me. There was the width of a cigarette paper between these teams. And Dublin are considered one of the greats.

Dublin’s shot chart
dublin-shooting-v-mayo-16-replay

Mayo’s shot chart
mayo-shooting-v-dublin-16-replay
x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half from play, white = 2nd half, red = goal attempt

Dublin v Mayo 2016 All Ireland Final

September 20, 2016

For those new to the blog, or who haven’t been here for a while, please find a refresher on the definitions and how the numbers are compiled here

Team Possessions Attacks Shots Scores Exp Pts
Dublin 57 46 31 2 – 09 17.30
Mayo 53 40 26 0 – 15 14.80

Dublin’s returns don’t look too bad – scoring 2 – 09 from an Expected return of 17.30. Those two goals however came from non shots (yes they created the chances but from an Expt Pts vantage they don’t count as they didn’t come from a Dublin shot on goal) meaning that Dublin’s actual shots returned more than 8 points below Expected and showed a Conversion Rate of 29%.

In their five games this year Dublin were showing a 61% Conversion Rate and a combined Expt Pts value of +11.21. In the 23 other Championship games since 2013 Dublin’s Conversion Rate has only dropped below 40% once – and that was a 39% against the ultra-defensive Westmeath in the 2015 Leinster final. The next lowest after that is 44%.

This was a spectacular derailing of the well-oiled machine. How did it happen?

Dublin’s shooting

Goal attempts

Dublin had three goal attempts in two different sequences (Brogan’s shot after Fenton’s original chance was saved as well as Fenton’s second attempt) which produced one goal – but the goal did not come from any of the three Dublin shots. As such the Expt Pts on the three shots was -3.42 (even though Dublin did get 3 points from the scramble – God the Expt Pts model really doesn’t like own goals!).

Note that for the second goal there was no actual goal shot – Rock spilled Connolly’s (wondrous) pass before Boyle put his foot through it.

Just on those two Fenton goal attempts – they were eerily similar with four different Mayo players committing the same basic “lack of communication” mistake.

dub-goal-chance-v-mayo-16-ai-final-actual-1st

In the first Mayo are basically set with S O’Shea (8) on Fenton (8). Fenton lays the ball off to the wrap around player and drifts towards goal however both O’Shea and Higgins (4) then go towards the player with the ball. Neither goes with Fenton.

dub-goal-chance1-v-mayo-16-ai-final

Same again for the second. This time replace McLoughlin (10) for O’Shea and Durcan (7) for Higgins. Fenton lays the ball off to the wraparound runner and continues to drift towards goal. Both Mayo players get sucked to the ball leaving Fenton acres of room in behind.

Deadballs

Unfortunately there is just no hiding from the fact that Rock had a bad day. He scored 0 – 03 from seven attempts for an Expt Pts tally of -1.57.

Much had been made of his 93% success rate this year coming in to the game (0-37 from 40 shots with an Expt pts of +7.98 from frees and 45s) however it must be remembered that he was also on 93% coming in to the 2015 semi-finals. From there on he only converted 0 – 02 from 5 attempts in the two 2015 games against Mayo and only attempted two of Dublin’s nine deadballs in the final against Kerry.

He is undoubtedly the real deal however there have to be concerns about his ability to maintain the averages at the end of the season. His excellent performance against Kerry had put some of these concerns to bed (0 -10 from 11 on frees & 45s with an Expt Pts tally of +2.48) but he’ll have to step up in the replay to silence them again

Then we have Connolly’s sideline attempt. Up until the start of this year’s Championship 18 point attempts from a sideline had been charted with a combined 28% Success Rate. Connolly is a better player than the majority, if not all, of those players who had taken those 18 attempts however (a) he is not the free taker and (b) those 18 were probably taken in better conditions and not in the 74th minute of a pulsating All Ireland final. It was a punt but he was always more likely to give the ball to Mayo having missed than having scored.

Point attempts

That leaves 20 point attempts throughout the game which saw Dublin convert 30% (0 – 06) with an Expt Pts tally of -3.03. Granted the conditions were not great but that is just very, very poor. And it was not confined to a handful of individuals having a day off – 12 separate Dublin players had a point attempt. There was just no sign of this.

In reviewing the SF against Tipperary we noted that the Mayo defence had restricted Tyrone to 27% and an Expt Pt return of -3.36 whilst holding the previously free scoring Tipperary to 26% and -3.11. We now add Dublin’s 30% and -3.03 to that tally. They are obviously doing something right. Against Tipperary & Tyrone they applied pressure to 66% of their point attempts when the norm is somewhere around the 51% mark. Again here they pressurised – to one extent or another – 75% of Dublin’s shots. But that doesn’t fully tell the story. In an attempt to somewhat measure what they were doing I graded all pressure on the shooter from 0 (no pressure applied) to 3 (intense pressure)

pressure-index

As can be seen Mayo were very good at applying intense pressure to 45% of Dublin’s point attempts. We don’t have any other comparison point for this but Dublin only applied a similar amount of pressure to 11% of Mayo’s shots.

It is no fluke that Dublin struggled – but it is strange that they struggled so much.

Note Colm Boyle shows up really well in this context. I have him charted as applying pressure to four separate shots with three of the being strong pressure (one “2” in the above table and two “3”s)

Mayo shooting

Goal attempts

Mayo had two clear cut goal attempts coming away with 0-01. The first fell very early to Durcan who had his shot blocked by Cooper. Hindsight is 20:20 and all that but looking at the position just as he was about to strike you would love to have seen him ship it left where they had an overlap with two of their best finishers standing on the square
mayo-goal-chance1-v-dub-16-ai-final
The second one was Moran’s attempt on the 52nd minute
mayo-goal-chance2-v-dub-16-ai-final
There was a split second where O’Connor was free on the square and when I put the still up on Twitter there was a split opinion on whether the ball needed to be fisted across. Personally the picture makes a fisted pass look a lot easier than real time did – it would have to have been spot on – and I would want Moran having the confidence to take that shot on.

Point attempts

Mayo were slightly above average with a Conversion Rate of 50% (0-09 from 18 shots) and an Expt Pts of +1.07.
Much like Dublin there was a large spread of shooters with ten different players having a shot. O’Connor & Vaughan showed well here scoring 0 – 02 from three attempts each but the overall spread means that no one really stood out.

Again like Dublin however there were some wild efforts in there – not sure either O’Shea should be taking pot shots outside the 45!

Deadballs

Immediately after the game concluded the thought had been that O’Connor’s deadball day had been spectacular. That however was more in comparison to Rock than anything else. O’Connor converted 86% (0 – 05 from 6 shots) with an Expt Pts was +0.41. A good day’s return on the numbers; nothing more.

However when looking at that stat line we need to take into account the context of the game. If Rock has question marks about him on the big day then O’Connor is the exact opposite – he thrives on it.

In eight All Ireland finals and semi-finals since 2013 O’Connor is 81% on frees and 45s (0 – 09 from 48 attempts) with an Expt Pts tally of +2.44. When everything is to play for O’Connor delivers well above average.

Kickouts

Dublin won 18 of their 22 but only managed 0-01, or 0.06 points per kickout won, from those 18 wins. In the 2016 Championship to date that was 0.51 points per kickout won. Another one to chalk down for the Mayo defence.

Another minor victory can be noted in the time it took Cluxton to get his kicks off. A lot had been made in the build up to the match as to how Cluxton looked to get his kickouts taken within six seconds. We didn’t see a number of the kickouts but when we did Cluxton was regularly taking over 15 seconds to kick the ball out (the first few were indicative; – stalled as had to be retaken, 15 second wait, 16 seconds, didn’t see on TV coverage, 12 seconds, 14 seconds, delayed for the black card, 20 seconds).

Mayo were, score wise, better racking up 0 – 04 on the 16 kickouts they won – 0.25 points per kickout – however they also coughed up 0 – 02 and nearly had a calamitous last few minutes when Clarke hit three poor kickouts in quick succession. The first was lofted to Parsons on the 45m line on the right wing allowing Mannion to break the ball to O’Gara forcing Barrett to give away a free that Rock pointed. On the resultant kickout Clarke managed to pick out Connolly short left who took one look and pointed. Clarke then placed Higgins under all sorts of trouble when he went short right.

Up until those three kickouts Mayo had taken 17 winning 14 – however when they went past the 45 they had lost three out of four. Given this, and the sequence above, it will be interesting to see if Dublin push up the next day putting Clarke under pressure and forcing him to go longer.

Appendix

Dublin’s shot chart
dublin-shooting-v-mayo-16

Mayo’s shot chart
mayo-shooting-v-dublin-16
x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half from play, white = 2nd half, red = goal attempt

Dublin v Kerry 2016 AI Semi Final

August 30, 2016

For those new to the blog, or who haven’t been here for a while, please find a refresher on the definitions and how the numbers are compiled here

Team Possessions Attacks Shots Scores Exp Pts
Dublin 56 42 35 0 – 22 19.14
Kerry 51 35 26 2 – 14 16.48

Normally we look at the game as a whole however this one ebbed and flowed to such an extent that it may be better to review how both teams did within the various segments that made up the game.

Kerry’s slow start
Colm Cooper and Donnchadh Walsh both missed close in chances early on – Cooper pulling an attempt on the spin whilst Walsh was off balance after a thunderous shoulder from Byrne – which put them in a hole both in terms of the match and their shooting returns (as both were from the zone immediately in front of goal Kerry’s Expt Pts were -1.50 by the 3rd minute!).

They then went ten minutes without another shot by which time Dublin had scored 0 – 04 from eight point attempts (shooting was average here with an Expt Pts of +0.26) whilst McMahon also missed Dublin’s only goal chance.

As an aside Kerry are only the second team since the start of the 2012 Championship to restrict Dublin to just one shot at goal in a game. The other, somewhat surprisingly, was Meath in this year’s Leinster Championship.

We then had a period of sublime accuracy as both teams combined for 0 – 11 from just 14 shots over a 16 minute spell (79% combined with an Expt Pts of +2.84). Kerry were the main contributors here scoring 0 – 06 from just the six shots (Expt Pts of +1.99) with Geaney hitting three from play. Dublin thus scored 0 – 05 from 8 shots and whilst they did not quite attain Kerry’s level of accuracy it was still above expected (Expt Pts +0.85).

So up until the goal Dublin were well on top in the shot count – 17 to Kerry’s 8 – but Kerry’s accuracy was keeping them within reach.

But it wasn’t just in terms of shots that Dublin were ahead. They had 28 possessions & 20 attacks (71% Attack Rate) to Kerry’s 20 possessions and just 9 attacks (45% Attack Rate). Kerry were being consumed. The extra possessions came from Dublin’s success on Kerry’s kickouts. Dublin had six kickouts prior to the first goal winning all six. Kerry had 14 kickouts but only managed to win seven with three of those going short. So when the Kerry kickout became contestable Dublin were 7 – 4 ahead. Dublin winning the opposition’s kickouts is not that much of a surprise any more however Kerry refused to help themselves here. There was no variation – all 11 were directed at either Moran or Maher and all went mid-range between the 20 and 45metre lines. Fenton, MacAuley & Kilkenny in particular had a field day.

And what of Kerry’s anaemic attack? Yes their forwards were (extremely) economic scoring 0-06 from nine attacks (Dublin were 0-09 from 20) but to only manufacture nine attacks? A lot of this can be attributed to the plan Kerry employed early with long balls being sent in to Colm Cooper & Donaghy. They were getting some success but not enough were sticking and Johnny Cooper can take a lot of the credit for this. He was immense in this period breaking five such balls away from both (two from Donaghy & three from Colm Cooper).

And then the goal
Of Dublin’s first six kickouts three went to the right and short with no pressure applied. Then the 7th went horribly awry. All of a sudden the tables turned. After only conjuring up nine attacks in 29 minutes Kerry manufactured seven in the last 8 minutes with six shots producing 2-02 (Expt Pts of +3.44). Dublin couldn’t get out of their own way losing four of their five kickouts in this period and only managing two possessions in ~8 minutes (one was lost inside Kerry’s 45 when McManamon was tackled and another when Kilkenny fisted the ball away in Kerry’s 65)

Dubs don’t panic
As the numbers from above show Dublin were absolutely rattled going in at half time. They had dominated the game for 30 minutes but had come undone under a deluge of Kerry counter punches.

What happened next says a lot about where this Dublin team are at. They came out in the second half and didn’t panic. They just continued on in the same vein that allowed them to dominate the first 30 minutes. Within 14 minutes of the restart they were back level.

Again the “volume” pressure began to tell. In those opening 14 minutes the shot count was 8 – 3 in Dublin’s favour. This time it was Dublin who were deadly accurate scoring 0 – 06 from those eight shots (Expt Pts +1.47). Dean Rock had a great game (0 -12 from 13 shots including two 45s and two from play) but he was particularly good in this period scoring 0 – 04 (including a 45 & one from play) as well as providing an assist for Fenton’s equaliser.

Kerry’s earlier efficiency failed them here with the only point they scored coming from a Cooper free whilst he also dropped one short off his left into Cluxton’s hands.

One thing that did change here was the possession pattern. For those opening 14 minutes Kerry were “only” 11-9 down in terms of possessions. The reason being that they started to change their kickouts to shorter ones. In that opening period Kerry had seven kickouts with four going short (Dublin did still win the “contestable ones 2-1). Dublin only had the two kickouts in this period winning both – interestingly neither went short!

Kerry mini revival
To all intents & purposes Kerry looked done. They had now played the guts of 50 minutes and had been comprehensively outplayed for 40. To their eternal credit they were far from done however.

Around the time of Fenton’s equaliser Kerry introduced BJ Keane, James O’Donoghue and Brian O’Beaglaoich within five minutes of each other. The freshness – or just their innate obdurateness – saw them wrestle control back manufacturing 0 – 03 from five shots in ten minutes whilst Dublin went into their shell somewhat managing just two wides (an ill-advised long range attempt from Byrne and Rock’s only miss of the game) from a relatively paltry five possessions.

Initially there were 20 possessions in the opening 14 minutes of the half but this slowed to 11 in the next 11 minutes. The game slowed right down and it suited Kerry.

The finale
And then we had the last 15 minutes within which Dublin were frankly superb. They had nine possessions in this period, excluding the final one after Kilkenny got thrown to the ground, progressing all nine inside Kerry’s 45 and getting eight shots off scoring 0 – 07. Under the most intense pressure, starting the period three points down, they produced an 89% Shot Rate and an 88% Conversion Rate with an Expt Pts of +2.17. Just outstanding.

Kerry had their opportunities. They too had nine possessions in this period progressing seven inside Dublin’s 45 however they only produced four shots (57% Conversion Rate) with only one of those coming inside the final ~12 minutes.

We will probably never know what led to such a diversion in those final 15 minutes – be it mental fortitude or the age profile of the teams finally catching up on Kerry – but what we can say is that this Dublin team answered every question about their resolve, ability and just fundamental skills in that final period.

Appendix

Dublin’s shooting
Dublin shooting (V Kerry 16)

Kerry’s shooting
Kerry shooting (V Dublin 16)
x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half from play, white = 2nd half, red = goal attempt

 

Players with >= 4 shots

Shots Scores Success Rate Exp Pts
D Rock (Dublin) 13 0 – 12 92% 8.27
C Cooper (Kerry) 8 0 – 05 63% 5.88
D Connolly (Dublin) 7 0 – 03 43% 2.93
P Geaney (Kerry) 5 1 – 04 100% 3.16
B Brogan (Dublin) 5 0 – 02 40% 2.61