All Ireland Preview – Dublin

A preview by review. Looking at the games played thus far this year can we disseminate how often Dublin (and following on Kerry) will get on the ball and what they will do with it?

Possessions & Attack Rate

Team Possessions Attacks Attack % Shots Shot % Scores Success % Weighting
v Mayo – replay 50 39 78% 30 77% 18 60% +4.01
v Mayo 51 27 53% 24 89% 14 58% +3.06
v Fermanagh 59 48 81% 38 79% 25 66% +7.65
v Westmeath 65 52 80% 38 73% 15 39% -2.72
v Kildare 49 41 84% 36 88% 23 64% +6.08
v Longford 67 48 72% 39 81% 29 74% +10.30
Avg 56.8 42.5 75% 34.2 80% 20.7 60% +4.73

In their six games to date Dublin have averaged 57 possessions though they were restricted to 50 & 51 when they met a Grade A opponent in Mayo.

Kerry have allowed the opposition an average of 46 possessions (45, 49, 49 & 40) this year with the two largest volumes coming in games when they were well on top; the inference being that they dropped off the pace when those games were won. Given the fact that Mayo “restricted” Dublin to 50 & 51 possessions it is hard to see Dublin gaining more than 51 against a team that is offering up 46 on average.

As for attacks? Dublin have managed to create an attack from 75% of their possessions. This metric has been relatively stable – returns of 72%, 84%, 80%, 81%, 53% & 78% – with the one major aberration coming against Mayo in the drawn game.

It can be strongly argued that the 53% attack rate in the drawn semi-final was due mainly to Mayo’s tactic of falling off the short kickouts. Dublin did however adapt in the replay. After seeing Dublin overcome the “dropping off” tactic will Kerry push up? I think they will and whilst Dublin may lose some of their own kickouts as a result the trade-off will be an “easier” transition to attack for those they do win.

Over their four games Kerry have allowed the opposition to progress 70% of their possessions into an attack with the highest being 78% (both Tyrone and Kildare managed this).

Taking all that on board we’ll plump for 48 Dublin possessions – (we will explore why this will be lower against Kerry than it was against Mayo in the upcoming Kerry piece) and an attack rate of 77%. The 77% is above both the Dublin & Kerry averages but if we exclude the 53% in the first Mayo game – which appears to be an aberration – Dublin’s average is 79% whilst two lesser attacks in Kildare & Tyrone managed 78% against Kerry.

This gives us an expected 37 attacks

Shot Rate & Shot Conversion

Dublin have been very consistent at manufacturing a shot from their attacks. They have averaged an 80% Shot Rate over the six games with only the Westmeath game, when they faced an ultra-defensive setup, showing a return less than 77%. Kerry have been consistent themselves in what they have allowed – 81%, 71%, 74% & 71% – but they will not have met as slick an attacking setup as Dublin.

We will give a nod to Kerry’s defensive abilities by suggesting an attack rate below what Dublin have averaged thus far however given Dublin’s consistency we can’t go too low. I would predict a Shot Rate in the region of 77%. From the 37 attacks predicted above that would be 28 shots in total (48 possessions * 77% Attack Rate * 77% Shot Rate)

28 may seem on the high side given that Kerry have allowed 25, 28, 20 & 22 in their four games broadcasted this year however in the 2013 game between these two teams Dublin managed 32 shots and their returns from the past two seasons prior to the Mayo games were 42, 45, 48, 43, 38, 39, 36, 38 & 38

28 is very conservative.

Shot Type

There are three main shot categories; deadballs, attempts at goal and attempts for points.


The average number of deadball attempts per game over the past three seasons is 7; Dublin are running at four a game this year – 4, 4, 5, 3, 5 & 4. Up until the two semi-finals Dean Rock was superb converting 93% (13 from 14) however in the two Mayo games both he and Dublin hit a wall.

In those two games Dublin were 33% (3 from 9) with a combined weighting of -2.019. Rock missed his only attempt in the drawn game and also missed two longer range ones in the replay. Cluxton missed three in the drawn game. This has to be Galvin’s biggest decision. Were Cluxton’s three misses a blip or symptomatic of why Rock was given the free taking duties all year? Given that Rock only managed one shot from play in the 90 minutes he was on the pitch against Mayo can he be “carried” if his deadball accuracy is off? Is his efficiency over Cluxton, Connolly or Brogan really that important – in the context of a 70 minute game – if you are only going to manufacture 4/5 shots?

Goal attempts

Dublin live and breathe goals but they have been a lot more selective when going for them this year. In 2013 & 2014 27% of all of Dublin’s shots from play were a goal attempt. 27%!!! They were averaging 6.6 attempts a game. This year those numbers are 17% and 5.0 attempts a game however what they have done is improved their efficiency no end. The average Success Rate on goal attempts is ~34%. Dublin have converted 60% of their goal attempts this year. Throw in those attempts that they got a point from and they have gotten a score from 73% (18 – 04 from 30 attempts).
Whilst they have been less gung-ho in their attempts they have more than compensated for this with their clinical finishing.

Point attempts

Dublin forwards

Dublin’s combined stat line when going for a point in this year’s Championship is a 57% Success Rate (0-86 from 150 attempts) with a combined weighting of +19.2. Or put another way the shots Dublin have attempted would have yielded 0 – 67 for an average team – their shooting has been sublime.

Bernard Brogan has been the chief architect however seven of the eight main forwards are returning positive returns with the exception being Paul Flynn. Much comment has been passed on Flynn’s form this year but his shooting, outside everything else, is definitely off. In ’13 & ’14 combined he was 62% (18 from 29) with a weighting of +5.74.

Part of the counter argument against reading too much into Dublin’s accuracy is that they meet no one in Leinster and as such their numbers are inflated by non-competitive games. This has some validity to it however the returns for the two Mayo games show a Success Rate of 59% (23 from 39) with a combined weighting of +6.66. They were as good against Mayo as they had been in the four games leading up to that.

So going on previous outings the split of the 28 shots will be 4 deadballs, 5 goal shots and 19 point attempts. Dublin will convert 52% of their point attempts and 40% of the goal chances – below their averages to date as a nod to Kerry’s defensive abilities – and convert three of their four deadballs leaving us with a final score of 2-13.


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2 Responses to “All Ireland Preview – Dublin”

  1. All Ireland Preview – Kerry | dontfoul Says:

    […] Shining a light onto GAA stats « All Ireland Preview – Dublin […]

  2. Dublin V Kerry 2015 All Ireland Final | dontfoul Says:

    […] goal attempts that dragged their overall returns down. To date Dublin had manufactured a score on 73% of their goal chances. Here they had the four attempts with nothing to show from […]

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