Dublin V Mayo 2013 All Ireland final

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 Shots Shot Rate Scores Success Rate Weighting
Dublin 40 27 68% 14 52% +0.9029
Mayo 39 27 69% 15 56% -1.519
2012 avg 35.28 27.02 76.6% 13.96 51.67%

This was a one point game and as such you would not expect much between the teams. The possession count was very similar whilst both teams had the same number of shots. Mayo had a better conversion rate which would indicate that they were sharper shooters on the day however the weighting suggests this was far from the case. Stats eh?

Firstly the possessions; closer than you thought whilst watching the game? It surprised me. One of the reasons for this was how slow Dublin started. Immediately prior to Brogan’s first goal Mayo led the possession battle 13-5. They were dominant taking ten shots to Dublin’s three and leading 0-05 to 0-01.

Of course the corollary to that is Dublin won the possession battle 35-26 from there on in and took 24 shots to Mayo’s 17. It is the prolonged period of Dublin dominance we (or rather I) remember rather than the game as a whole.

Back to the shooting. Mayo’s Success Rate was better than Dublin’s however their weighting was quite negative. How can Dublin have one less conversion than Mayo, plus three extra misses, yet come out with a better weighting? The answer is in the type of shot both teams took.

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
Dublin 22 11 50% +1.6895
Mayo 16 7 44% -0.6913
2012 team avgs 20.14 9.36 46.5%

We will deal with the deadball shooting in more detail below however Mayo only converted two shots from play from outside the 20m line. These two shots both came from Sector5 – directly in front of goal. Their converted shots were not difficult and therefore the weighting for these shots was not able to cancel out the negative weighting for their misses (nine in total; four inside the 20m line and five outside).

Contrast this with Dublin. They had essentially the same Conversion Rate as Mayo but they hit some majestic points. In the second half alone Andrews, Flynn, Brogan & Brennan all hit wonderful shots with three of the four coming from the wings. Dublin’s scores were more difficult and able to make up for their misses.

Another way that Dublin’s weighting was helped was in their shots at goal. They took five in total scoring on three (O’Gara’s shot ended up being a point). Over time we have discovered that shots at goal are converted much less than shots for points therefore the weighting takes this into account – you are better rewarded for converting the harder shots and not penalized for missing as much.

Dublin had more shots at goal whilst Mayo did not attempt enough ‘difficult’ point attempts. The type of shot had a big bearing on why Mayo had a better conversion rate than Dublin but ultimately were less efficient.

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
S Cluxton (Dublin) 3 2 67% -0.393
B Brogan (Dublin) 1 1 100% +0.155
D Connolly (Dublin) 1 0 0% -0.548
C O’Connor (Mayo) 10 8 80% -0.528
R Hennelly (Mayo) 1 0 0% -0.300
2012 team avgs 6.88 4.6 66.9%

The average number of shots at goal from deadballs in a game is 13.8 so whilst 16 is on the high side it is by no means outlandish. There were 15 in the 2012 All Ireland final.

In that 2012 decider Mayo only gave up 6 scoreable dead balls – they went one better here only offering up Dublin five kicks at goal; this against a team that were averaging nine shots at goal from deadballs prior to the final. Mayo’s tackling has been excellent all year and held up under the pressure.

O’Connor scored eight frees, and was the main reason that Mayo were able to stay with Dublin in the second half, yet he had a poor outing by his own lofty standards. How so? O’Connor, with Cluxton & the two Donegal snipers, is the best deadball striker over the past two years. The eight frees he converted were all very simple (six from in front of the posts) and any free taker, let alone a pre-eminent one like O’Connor, would be expected to make them.

The problem arises from the two he missed. The first is excusable as it was very tight to the touch-line on the 20m line (there is an argument as to whether, given the chance of success, teams should have a short kick routine ready for such scenarios – but I digress) however the second was from Sector 5 straight in front of the posts. On average that free kick is converted 85% of the time. The eight he converted were cancelled out by that miss weighting wise.

Dublin will not care but giving away eleven shots from deadballs was poor. A crude and effective way to protect the lead no doubt but as a unit not one I imagine they’ll review too often.

Shot Charts
Just to re-emphasis some of the points mentioned above. Look at Mayo’s second half attempts (white = 1st half, black = 2nd half) – very conservative with not one attempt from play from outside the 20m line.

Dublin’s shooting

Dublin (Vs Mayo) shooting

Mayo’s shooting

Mayo shooting (Vs Dublin)

x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, white = play

Dub-Mayo kickouts

The above table shows the importance both teams placed on winning primary possession. 86% of all kickouts were won by the team taking the kickout. Part of the argument for going shorter with kickouts, and thus securing possession, is what happens when you don’t. Of the six kickouts lost by the team taking the kickout 5 were turned into an attacking possession whilst 50% were turned into a shot. Only 38% of those kickouts won on your own kickout were turned into a shot.

The overall shot rate for the game, at 68%, was low and thus the conversion of kickouts won to shots is also going to be low. Dublin however did perform better here getting nine shots off from the twelve possessions they had as opposed to Mayo’s five from twelve.

Players with >= 2 shots from play

Moran had an absolutely superb display for Mayo. Apart from scoring 1-02 he was also directly responsible for winning two frees that O’Connor converted.

In the two years that this blog has been up and running Bernard Brogan has probably been highlighted more than any other player. It is only right that we highlight how good a game he had on the biggest stage. He had seven shots in total, scoring 2-03 and his first goal, whilst Mayo were dominant, was *the* key turning point in the game.

Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
B Brogan (Dublin) 6 4 67% +1.428
C Kilkenny (Dublin) 5 0 0% -2.023
A Moran (Mayo) 4 3 75% +1.148
L Keegan (Mayo) 3 2 67% +0.718
E O’Gara (Dublin) 2 2 100% +1.146
G Brennan (Dublin) 2 1 50% +0.137
P Andrews (Dublin) 2 1 50% +0.050
K Higgins (Mayo) 2 1 50% -0.157
K McLoughlin (Mayo) 2 0 0% -0.758
C O’Connor (Mayo) 2 0 0% -1.258


Much has been made of how the game ended. Below are the timings

73:27 Free given (Varley has ball in hand)
73:36-73:39 O’Connor gets ball in hand (camera had panned away for exact timing)
73:45 O’Connor talks to ref
74:01 Ref blows whistle
74:09 Shot taken
74:32 Kickout & final whistle

In the NFL there is a “book” that tells coaches the optimum strategy for when to for a 2pt conversion after a touchdown or when to go for it on 4th and short versus taking a field goal. In the off season some team needs to develop something similar for GAA managers.

We saw how Cork bungled the ending of the Munster final (here) and whilst I would not be as critical of Mayo they still should have known what was required. Two points down in injury time with an easy free – its not that unlikely a scenario and the timings of all the components (length of time to take a free, length of time to take a kickout, chances of winning possession, shot rate from possession, conversion rate from shot) are generally known. I have sympathy for Mayo in that the conversation was between O’Connor and the ref, so the bench was blind in a sense, but even looking at what had to go right post taking the point the instruction should have come in to take the goal shot


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