Monaghan V Donegal 2014 Championship

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
Monaghan 36 23 64% 10 43% -2.258
Donegal 33 26 79% 15 58% +1.710
Champ (’12 & ’13 avg) 35.8 27.6 77.2% 14.1 51.0%

Monaghan had more attacking possessions than Donegal but their Conversion & Success Rates were very poor. Monaghan having more attacking possessions is a mirror of the 2013 final (they had 36 to Donegal’s 31 in that game) but it was Donegal’s shooting radar that was off that day (a Success Rate of 33%).

In the main Monaghan’s poor returns can be attributed to Donegal’s excellent defending rather than any particularly deficient attribute on behalf of the Monaghan attack.

Of the 13 Monaghan attacks that did not end in a shot six were due to Donegal dispossessing the Monaghan players in the tackle whilst another three were due to hand passes going astray; poor hand passes can be usually attributed to huge defensive pressure on the player giving the pass.

Even when they did get a shot off Donegal pressured 69% (9 of 13) of Monaghan’s shots from play thus ensuring that very few easy points were given away cheaply.

Where attacks originated

Opposition k/out Own k/out Ball received in Own 3rd Ball received in Mid 3rd Ball received in Opposition 3rd Other (throw-in, rebound etc.)
Monaghan 1 16 8 4 4 3
Donegal 2 12 14 1 0 4

One defensive attribute that Donegal will look to tighten up on (yes there is one!) is the fact that they gave up four turnovers in their own defensive 3rd. Monaghan only converted one of these four to a score – other teams may not be so lenient.

You can see how carefully Monaghan minded the ball – only 1 turnover between their own defensive 3rd & the middle 3rd whilst Donegal only got one shot from Monaghan kickouts.

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
Monaghan 13 5 38% -0.897
Donegal 17 9 53% +1.681
Champ avgs (’12 & ’13) 20.3 9.2 45.4%

A 26% drop in the average number of shots from play gives you an indication of arm lock that this game turned into at times.

In such a tight game a Success Rate of 53% is vital. When they got into position Donegal were very selective in their shots from play with MacNiallais & McBrearty hitting 6 from 7 for a combined weighting of +2.934. McFadden & Murphy’s struggles from play continue so it is imperative that the rest of the team step forward in the shooting stakes. Murphy did not have a shot all game whilst McFadden attempted two with no joy.

Their overall alertness was exemplified by the fact that two of their points (Lacey & MacNiallais) in the first half came from McLoone & McFadden showing great strength in retrieving & recycling wayward shots.

Despite the defensive nature of Monaghan’s set up Donegal managed to get eight shots (47%) off without pressure. Donegal managed to score from six of these eight.

Monaghan on the other hand had a torrid time getting their shots off. Only 4 of their 13 shots were taken without any pressure – they converted two of these. That means that Donegal pressured 69% of Monaghan’s attempts at play with Monaghan converting a paltry 22% (2 from 9).

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
C McFadden (Donegal) 6 4 67% -0.235
M Murphy (Donegal) 3 2 67% +0.264
R Beggan (Monaghan) 5 2 40% -0.425
P Finlay (Monaghan) 4 3 75% -0.364
C McManus (Monaghan) 1 0 0% -0.572
team avgs (’12 & ’13 Champ) 7.3 4.9 66.7%

Undoubtedly the high volume of deadballs is bloated by the length that Murphy & Beggan have on their free kicks but even still 19 attempts from deadball is phenomenally high. That’s a shot from a deadball for every 1.6 shots from play. The average in 2013 was 1 for every 2.8 shots from play.

There were some spectacular frees converted – most notably Murphy’s monster towards the end of the second half – however no one really shone. The returns as a whole were slightly below average which will especially disappoint Monaghan given how few attempts from play they manufactured.


Team “coughing up” possession Shots from Turnovers %
Monaghan 28 11 39%
Donegal 21 13 62%


Misplaced Pass Tackled Shots not going dead Other
Monaghan 16 6 4 2
Donegal 11 5 1 4

Perhaps the most surprising return from the game is how poor Donegal were at converting the turnovers they gained into shots. We have an image of Donegal as that ultra defensive team that sucks you into their web then catches you with lightening counter attacks.

In this game the first half was true as they had a +7 on turnovers but they only managed to convert 39% of those turnovers to shots. Monaghan were much more efficient converting 62% of their turnovers to shots. As we saw earlier in the overall returns they manufactured the shots – they just couldn’t convert.

The spread of those responsible for the turnovers (very subjective admittedly!!) is interesting. Although Monaghan had seven extra turnovers 16 different players were responsible for said turnovers – quite a spread. For Donegal nine separate players were responsible with McFadden underlying his average day (4 from 6 on frees, 0 from 2 from play) by topping the charts with five.


Monaghan’s kickouts Won % Turned into a possession % Shot %
Monaghan 20 91% 16 80% 8 40%
Donegal 2 9% 2 100% 2 100%
Donegal’s kickouts Won % Turned into a possession % Shot %
Monaghan 4 24% 1 25% 0 0%
Donegal 13 76% 12 92% 10 77%

We missed a lot of kickout coverage, especially Monaghan’s kickouts in the second half. The TV panned back from a replay, or a lingering shot on a substitute climbing the steps to the benches, to see a Monaghan player in possession of the ball around their 65m line.

One can only surmise that Monaghan took clean possession on short kickouts on those the camera missed. This is why they had such a high “win” rate on their own kickouts – Donegal retreated letting Monaghan have possession deep in their own half and only engaged in a meaningful way at their own 45.

Donegal were more inclined to mix their kickouts – eight went long with Monaghan winning their four Donegal kickouts here. They will be disappointed that they could not convert one of these four into a shot never mind a score.

Donegal’s low conversion rate of the turnovers to shots becomes even more curious when you consider that they converted 78% (7 from 9) of the non long kickouts to shots. Why was it that they could convert kickouts received in their own half to shots but couldn’t convert turnovers received into shots?

Shot Charts

Monaghan’s shooting
Monaghan shooting (V Donegal)

Donegal’s shooting
Donegal shooting (V Monaghan)
x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half from play, white = 2nd half from play

Players with >= 2 shots from play

Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
P McBrearty (Donegal) 4 3 75% +1.209
P Finlay (Monaghan) 4 1 25% -0.577
O MacNiallais (Donegal) 3 3 100% +1.725
R McHugh (Donegal) 2 1 50% +0.234
A Thompson (Donegal) 2 1 50% +0.224
K Lacey (Donegal) 2 1 50% -0.207
K Hughes (Monaghan) 2 1 50% -0.207
C McFadden (Donegal) 2 0 0% -0.719

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