Donegal V Mayo 2015 All Ireland QF

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
Donegal 46 30 65% 21 70% 11 50% +0.450
Mayo 48 38 79% 30 79% 15 50% +0.060
Avg 37.0 28.7 77.7% 14.7 51.2%

Both teams had a similar number of possessions and when they took a shot they produced very similar returns in terms of accuracy & weighting. There the similarity ends however.

Mayo were much more efficient at creating attacks; 79% of Mayo’s possessions ended up inside Donegal’s 45 as opposed to 65% of Donegal’s. This was, in the main, due to Donegal’s set up. When Mayo had the ball they dropped back allowing Mayo fairly easy passage into their 45 (and thus an attack); when Donegal had the ball their possession play allowed the Mayo defence to “set” – thus even when inside the opposition’s 45 Mayo were able to produce more shots on their attacks than did Donegal (79% – 70%)

There is then of course the goals. Goals win games. Mayo had three attempts and scored 2 – 00; Donegal had two and managed 0 – 01.

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success % Weighting
Donegal 13 6 46% +0.407
Mayo 25 13 52% +1.668
Avgs 21.4 9.7 45.3%

Some very neat shooting games (see the player table at the end) but the majority were from Mayo men. Murphy aside no one from Donegal stood up. McBrearty & C McFadden were marked absent with neither producing a score from four attempts whilst McGlynn was the only other player to attempt more than the one shot.

Looking at the two goals it wasn’t so much a system failure from Donegal but perhaps the wrong man for the system. For both goals Mark McHugh, acting as sweeper, was in a position to tackle the onrushing Mayo man but on both occasions he was brushed off. His lack of bulk telling against him

Donegal goal 1

Donegal goal 2

There were indications that the system was failing however; in the first half, whilst the game was in the melting pot at 0–03 to 0–02, Jason Doherty found himself in acres of space on Donegal’s right.

Don system failure

For whatever reason Hugh McFadden (21 below) and Neil Gallagher (9) completely got their signals wrong which meant that Lacey (6) wasn’t in a position to cover. Gallagher had Doherty put passed him on to McFadden – McFadden missed the cue and pushed up on his man allowing Doherty acres of space in behind.

Mayo on the other hand were getting it spot on. The first picture below shows an intercepted hand pass that takes three Mayo men out of the play – perfect Donegal counter attacking ball. Donegal attack hard up the middle however Mayo, unlike Dublin last year, have a man to stop the initial run whilst the cavalry work hard to get back and block the easy running hand passes.

Mayo Defense 1

Similarly in the next instance – again an intercepted hand pass on Donegal’s 45 – we can see that Mayo are set up perfectly with Donegal runners tightly marked and spare men back to choke the space in the middle.

Mayo defense 2

Both of these counter attacks resulted in Donegal points (for Murphy & Toye) but Mayo were back in sufficient numbers to ensure the goal wasn’t threatened on either occasion

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success % Weighting
C O’Connor (Mayo) 5 2 40% -1.608
M Murphy (Donegal) 8 5 63% +0.043
team avgs 7.2 4.9 68.7%

What appears like a particularly poor day for O’Connor does in fact highlight one of the weaknesses in Mayo’s game. O’Connor is probably the most accurate deadball striker over the past few years however he does have a specific range. The three he missed here were outside that – two from the right and one long (a 45). My guess is that he took on these attempts not because he thought he would get them but because there is no one else stepping up.

Murphy missed both his attempts from outside the 45 and whilst he converted a 45 the remainder of his attempts were deemed on the easier side (3 of the other 4 that were converted were inside the 20m line) so his returns come out as “average”.


Donegal’s kickouts Won % Turned into an attack % Shot %
Donegal 14 67% 10 71% 7 50%
Mayo 7 33% 5 71% 4 57%
Mayo’s kickouts Won % Turned into an attack % Shot %
Donegal 4 22% 3 75% 3 75%
Mayo 14 78% 10 71% 9 64

The TV cameras missed where three of Mayo’s kickouts landed but none of the three went past the 65. Assuming this Mayo only kicked two of their kickouts long.

In total Donegal scored 0 – 01 from the 4 Mayo kickouts they won but Mayo scored 1-04 directly from their own kickouts. Not pushing up on the Mayo kickouts ultimately did not work.

Donegal basically had two kickout ploys – long or short. None of their kickouts, that the TV cameras picked up, landed between the 45 & 65m lines. Of the 13 that went long Donegal won the possession battle 7 – 6 however they were unable to use this possession scoring just the one point. Mayo returned 1–02 from the 6 that they won.

Of the remaining 8 that went short Donegal scored 0–02 but they did lose one of their short kickouts which resulted in a point for Mayo.

So whilst the overall possessions and ability to turn these possessions to shots look similar Mayo scored 2-07 from the 21 kickouts they won (0.62pts per possession) whilst Donegal only manufactured 0-04 from their 18 wins (0.22pts per possession)


Team giving up the ball Pass In the Tackle Shot Other
Donegal 13 9 2 3
Mayo 12 5 7 1

If we consider turnover from shots to be of a different nature than the rest (which I do) then Mayo were very careful with the ball only coughing it up 18 times – and only five of those were through the tackle against a historically very strong defence.

Of course they won’t want to turn the ball over on so many shots the next time but nothing we have seen – either from Mayo or from the numbers in general – leads us to believe that this is a predictable trait from one game to the next.

Shot Charts

Donegal’s shooting
Donegal shooting (V Mayo 15 QF)

Mayo’s shooting
Mayo shooting (V Donegal 15 QF)
x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half from play, white = 2nd half from play,

Players with >= 3 shots from play

Shots Scores Success % Weighting
L Keegan (Mayo) 4 3 75% +1.497
C O’Connor (Mayo) 4 1 25% 1.124
M Murphy (Donegal) 3 3 100% +1.899
J Doherty (Mayo) 3 3 100% +1.442
K McLoughlin (Mayo) 3 2 67% +0.544

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