Dublin V Mayo All Ireland Preview

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

Mayo & Dublin is the final that most people wanted. They have consistently been the two best teams this year and most pundits are struggling to separate them. Given the expected closeness we prise open some elements to see if either team has that crucial advantage that will see them over the line.

Attacking Possession

The below table shows the averages for both team’s five Championship games in 2013. The view of Dublin being an offensive juggernaut is borne out by the fact that they have averaged 45 attacking possessions a game. The 2012 average was 35. This average does not hide any poor performances either – all five games have been above average with returns of 49,46,47,44 and 39.

  Possessions Shots Shot Rate Scores Success Rate Weighting
Dublin 45.0 37.2 83% 19.4 52% 1.4892 
Mayo 43.2 33.8 78% 19.0 57% 1.2990 

What we mustn’t do however is sleep on Mayo as an attacking threat. Their five game average of 43.2 is impressive in its own right and again all five games have been above average. Their weighting is slightly below Dublin but nothing that would indicate Dublin have a large advantage in terms of shooting prowess.

What seperates the two teams, in an attacking sense, is what they do with the ball in an attacking position. Dublin have a better Shot Rate than Mayo, gaining on average an extra 3.4 shots per game, however their accuracy lets them down. If a team performs to the average then 3.4 shots should equate to an extra 1.7 scores however Dublin are only outscoring Mayo by 0.2 scores.

There is very little difference in the two team’s accuracy when going for a point. Mayo score on 51% of their shots compared to Dublin’s 50%. Instead Dublin’s accuracy “issues” stem from their relative lack of composure when going for goal. They have had 36 shots on goal but only converted 31%. Mayo on the other hand has had 21 attempts at goal converting a very healthy 57%.

Of course both team’s defences will have a say in how the forward lines operate. To that end below are the averages for their respective opponents in those games

  Possessions Shots Shot Rate Scores Success Rate Weighting
Dublin opponents 33.4 25.2 75% 12.2 48% -0.539
Mayo’s opponents 30.4 24.4 80% 10.6 43% -1.994

When compared to the offensive outputs the opposite is true of the defences. As can be expected given the generally open nature of their games Dublin allow the opposition three more attacking possessions than Mayo do however it is the Dublin defence that limits the number of shots that emanate form these possessions.

So Dublin are better at preventing shots however Mayo’s opponents had a much lower Success Rate and Weighting. Was this due to Mayo’s defending or a general lack of quality on the opposition’s part? There are two possible ways of measuring this. The first is the percentage of shots that the opposition took under pressure and the second is where they allowed shots from.

Mayo’s defence applied pressure to 60% of all the shots for a point rising to 62% for all shots. Dublin’s defence applied pressure to 49% of their opponent’s attempts at a point dropping slightly to 48% for all shots.

Sector % all Shots weighting   % all shots weighting
1-3 3% -0.818   3% -0.409
4&6 34% -2.11   31% -4.204
5 25% -3.06   23% -0.668
7&9 23% -0.480   27% +2.266
8 15% -1.423   17% +2.606

Note Mayo’s returns are the two columns on the left; Dublin’s the two on the right

Both teams’ defences have quite similar profiles when it comes to where they allow their opponents to shoot from. What is interesting though is that in the better scoring zones (sectors 5 & 8) Mayo’s opponents perform much worse. It is of course possible that their opponents were just poorer shooters than Dublin’s opponents however I would ascribe the differences to the different set ups. Mayo provide support for the defence thus enabling them to pressure more shots. Dublin on the other hand tend to leave their defenders on an island.

The positive returns for Dublin’s opponents in close lend credence to this view.

Shooting Tendencies

Despite the fact that their overall Success Rates are quite similar when going for a point is there anything in the detail that separates them?

  Shots % of all Shots Success Rate   Shot % of all Shots Success Rate
inside 20m 51 45% 51%   40 38% 55%
20m – 45m 63 55% 49%   65 62% 49%

Note Mayo’s returns are the three columns on the left; Dublin’s the three on the right

Mayo take more of their shots closer to goal; 45% of all their shots versus Dublin’s 38%. Generally this is a good thing as being closer to goal ensures more accuracy however Dublin have a better Success Rate closer in (55% versus 51% for Mayo). Worse again for Mayo only 45% of those shots inside 20m came under pressure; 63% of Dublin’s were taken under pressure.

Both teams’ have similar Success Rates from outside the 20m line. Again Dublin’s shooting has faced more pressure in these positions; 45% of these shots were taken under pressure versus 41% for Mayo shots.

So whilst the overall conversion rates slightly favour Mayo the details show that they have faced less pressure taking their shots and have also missing more close in. Fine margins they may be but it is in the detail that this game will be won or lost.

Deadball striking

  Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
C O’Connor 12 12 100% +2.798
Rest of Team 22 14 64% -2.483
Mayo Total 34 26 76% +0.315
         
S Cluxton 22 14 64% +2.727
B Brogan 11 9 82% -0.120
Rest of Team 12 7 58% -1.982
Dublin Total 45 30 67% +0.625

To date Mayo has had a distinct advantage in deadball (frees & 45s) striking when viewed by Success Rate. They have converted 76% of their deadballs with O’Connor converting all of his 12 attempts to date. If however O’Connor is unable, for whatever reason, to take responsibility for Mayo’s deadball striking then their advantage disappears. Although Freeman stepped up against Kerry, converting four from five, the team outside of O’Connor has only converted 64% and has quite a negative weighting. They have missed some very easy frees.

Dublin has converted 67% of all their deadballs but what Cluxton has been excellent at is converting 45s. Cluxton has converted 73% of Dublin’s 45s (8 from 11) thus usually negating an excellent defensive play from the opposition. Of course the corollary to this is that Dublin’s free taking has not been as good in comparison. In the 5 games they have only converted 65% of their frees with Mannion only hitting two from six from the left.

See the appendix for a breakdown of Player returns

Kickouts
One of the most interesting battles on Sunday will be the kickout battle. Dublin is acknowledged as the leaders in how to control the kickout and to date they have won possession on 69% of their own kickouts. This is quite high however Mayo has secured possession on 78% of theirs.

Kickout tendencies

  Mayo Dublin
Short 41% 29%
Medium 27% 46%
Long 32% 25%

Part of this high possession rate is Mayo’s strength around the middle, with the O’Shea brothers patrolling and McLaughlin roaming, however their strategy also has a part to play. If a team takes a large portion of its kickouts short then it can be expected to “win” the kickout battle. Mayo has taken 41% of all their kickouts short as opposed to 29% for Dublin.

Shot Rate for Possession on own kickouts

  Mayo Dublin
Short 55% 57%
Medium 48% 64%
Long 50% 50%

When converting those possessions to shots Dublin is a step ahead. Dublin converted 58% of all the possessions from their own kickouts to shots versus Mayo’s 52%. The main difference, as can be viewed in the above table, is when Dublin hit medium length kickouts (between the 20m & 45m lines). Two thirds of the time when Dublin gain the ball in this area they get a shot off.

To date Mayo has faced 38 kickouts in this area and have only given up nine shots (24%). This is the kickout battle. Dublin like to ping kickouts between the 20m & 45m lines. They are excellent at getting shots from here. Mayo however has shown that they can stop you from getting shots from this area. Can they do the same to Dublin?

APPENDIX
Players with >= 8 shots from play

  Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
B Brogan (Dublin) 25 8 32% -2.527
D Connolly (Dublin) 21 8 38% -0.689
C Kilkenny (Dublin) 20 11 55% +1.040
C O’Connor (Mayo) 14 8 57% +1.542
E Varley (Mayo) 14 7 50% +1.337
P Mannion (Dublin) 14 7 50% +1.155
A Dillon (Mayo) 14 7 50% +0.233
A Freeman (Mayo) 12 8 67% +2.068
P Flynn (Dublin) 12 7 58% +2.208
L Keegan (Mayo) 11 7 64% +1.143
D Coen (Mayo) 11 4 36% -0.660
D Rock (Dublin) 8 6 75% +3.088
P Andrews (Dublin) 8 6 75% +2.513
A Moran (Mayo) 8 4 50% +0.460
K McLoughlin (Mayo) 8 3 38% -1.618
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