Cork V Kerry 2015 Munster 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 Attacks Attack % Shots Shot % Scores Success % Weighting
Kerry 41 32 78% 26 81% 17 65% +4.051
Cork 40 27 68% 22 81% 15 68% 3.725
Avg 37.0 28.7 77.7% 14.7 51.2%

They are some very impressive numbers – where to start?

In the preview I stated that the 2014 mauling Kerry inflicted was on the back of a trend that saw Cork’s attack differential go from +4 in 2012 to -7 in 2013 & finally -16 in 2014. Cork didn’t quite get back on par here but what they did do was break even in the possession stakes. Again the last three years showed that they had the forwards to finish – they just needed the ball.

The qualities of the Cork forwards were evident in their first two goals.

Mark O’Sé had gotten the better of C O’Neill in the early exchanges but the tables were turned for the first goal. Below are some images clipped just before the goal where O’Neill drifts out to the right and then digs hard to get in behind O’Sé – wonderful movement.

Kerry Cork O'Neill goal

The second goal had wonderful movement of a different stripe. Fitzgerald has O’Connor bang to rights on the wing but O’Connor drives past him and then fights, ignoring the jersey tug, to get in front. After that lung busting battle h then has the presence of mind to deftly lob Kealy with the fisted goal.

Kerry Cork O'Connor

From a Kerry perspective both instances show up a defence that leaked quite a few goals during the league – neither defender was able to hold the attacker in one on ones that seemed, initially, well marshalled.

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success % Weighting
Kerry 18 12 67% +3.926
Cork 15 9 60% +2.845
Avgs 21.4 9.7 45.3%

What of the Kerry forwards? The big difference between how both teams amassed the high weightings was the number of players involved. Cork only had six players contributing to their 15 shots. Kerry on the other hand had 12 players taking a shot with none of them attempting more than two. Seven players attempted just the one shot – with five converting. That is some spread of accuracy.

O’Donoghue continues on his merry way. In four games across four years against Cork he has converted a truly remarkable 94% (15 from 16) of point attempts. He absolutely loves playing Cork.

The Gooch? He only had the one attempt from the left of the D which he converted – after receiving a peach of a pass in space and into the bread basket – from M O Sé. Perhaps his most telling contribution was in the build up to the third goal. There was an interesting conversation on Off The Ball last week about whether a team could afford the luxury of a non “dropping back” half forward and that even the Gooch would have to do his duty. For Cork’s 3rd goal he was in the line to stop Shields but didn’t really impede him.

Kerry Cork Gooch

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success % Weighting
B Sheehan (Kerry) 5 3 60% +0.373
J O’Donoghue (Kerry) 2 1 50% -0.312
BJ Keane (Kerry) 1 1 100% +0.064
C O’Neill (Cork) 5 4 80% +0.653
D O’Connor (Cork) 2 2 100% +0.227
team avgs 7.2 4.9 68.7%

Positive day all round but that will ultimately be overshadowed by what happened at the end. Both 45s were central (Sector 5) with a conversion Rate of 50%. So we could have expected an average intercounty player to convert one of them. C O’Neill & J O’Donoghue are no average players though … both missing was probably the outsider of the 4 combinations.

History doesn’t tell us much unfortunately. I have 9 Cork games in the database with two O’Neill 45s; both were central and he converted one – as per the expected return. He was on a good day (4/4 from frees and 1-02 from 5 attempts from play up until then) so was entitled to have a go. D O’Connor had gone off the pitch at that stage but if he was still on I wonder would he have taken it? Again unfortunately I only have two 45s recorded from him – he converted both but they were back in 2012.

Similarly for O’Donoghue I only have the one 45 in the database (which he missed) although he did miss a relatively straight forward free in the corresponding game last year. Again Kerry’s principal deadball proponent was off the pitch; I have four instances of Brian Sheehan taking a 45 with him converting …… 50%!

What it all goes to show is the absolute luxury Dublin have in Cluxton. And if he is so rock steady what does it say of Rock that he has taken over the duties (to date)?


Kerry’s kickouts Won % Turned into an attack % Shot %
Kerry 11 69% 9 82% 8 73%
Cork 5 31% 4 80% 2 40%
Cork’s kickouts Won % Turned into an attack % Shot %
Kerry 5 23% 3 60% 3 60%
Cork 17 77% 12 71% 12 71%

In the 2014 Munster final Cork never went short. They smacked the ball c55-70m and let the likes of Sheehan, Buckley, Walsh & Maher dismantle their game. They were much more nuanced here understanding the importance of primary possession. Although they won their own kickout 17 – 5 what will be really pleasing is that the short kickout did not dominate. When the ball went past the 45 – and the kickout became contestable – they won the possession battle 11 – 5.

On top of that when Kerry kicked the ball past the 45 Cork broke even winning 5 of the ten. Kerry’s kickout stats, unlike Cork, are padded by the 6 short kickout.


Team giving up the ball Pass In the Tackle from a Shot Other
Kerry 9 5 1 1
Cork 7 7 5 3

Rather than a game of two halves this was a conspicuously loose first 15 minutes followed by some of the most controlled play you are likely to see. That first 15 minutes had 19 turnovers – they remaining ~60 minutes (taking in injury time) had a combined 20.

Kerry are past masters at defending through holding the ball. Here they went ~25 minutes – from the 15th to the 38th on the clock plus first half injury time – coughing up the ball only once. That is just phenomenal ball control.

Players with >= 3 shots from play

Shots Scores Success % Weighting
C O’Neill (Cork) 5 3 60% +0.945
D O’Connor (Cork) 3 2 67% +0.968
Barry O’Driscoll (Cork) 3 2 67% +0.612
P Geaney (Kerry) 3 1 67% -0.057

Note; some post game tidying up. I charted Fionn Fitzgerald’s last point as a shot. There has been some debate over whether he meant it but my initial gut reaction was that he did. Also Colm O’Neill had a free on the left wing towards the end which I did not chart as a shot. Again my gut reaction was that taking the free with the left, from the left sideline – and looking where the ball landed – he was trying to drop it near the square (which he did getting a 45 from the scramble).

I missed the fact that Goulding was on the field for the final 45. He converted a number of 45s in the 2010 final as well as having 3 from 3 in the database (2012 – 2014).


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2 Responses to “Cork V Kerry 2015 Munster Championship”

  1. Kerry V Tyrone 2015 All Ireland SF | dontfoul Says:

    […] the middle 3rd your first thought should be a direct run at goal. O’Connor’s goal in the drawn Munster Final was also the result of direct […]

  2. All Ireland Preview – Kerry | dontfoul Says:

    […] begun to chart this year. What Kerry have done is won the possession battle in each game – 1 (v Cork – drawn game), 3 (v Cork – replay), 11 (v Kildare) & 6 (v […]

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