Galway v Roscommon 2016 Connacht 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 Attacks Shots Scores Exp Pts
Galway 50 39 27 0 – 13 12.81
Roscommon 49 38 22 1 – 10 11.17

Given the high scores Roscommon had racked up in their two Championship outings to date (01-15 against New York and 4-16 versus Sligo) it was somewhat surprising to see them produce five fewer shots than Galway. But we have to give the Galway defence some credit here. Yes the conditions on Sunday were atrocious but in their last three halves that defence has restricted the opposition to 9, 12 & 10 shots respectively for a combined Expt Pts of 16.36. That will not only keep you in games but win you a majority of them.

Attacking wise Galway are nothing if not consistent. Against Mayo they had 50 possessions with 25 shots and 13 scores. The goal the last day helped them outperform shooting wise (scoring 1-01 from your only two goal chances will do that) but here they produced an almost perfectly average display with a Conversion Rate of 48% and an Expt Pts return of +0.19. Perfectly average is in no way a slight given the conditions that those “average” returns were produced in.

Roscommon on the other hand had to overcome their relative lack of shots (as a point of reference they had 39 against Sligo and 33 against Kerry in the league semi-final) through accuracy with an Expt Pts return of +1.83. That statement is slightly misleading however as the positive return was entirely down to their goal (I say slightly as creating, and taking, goal chances is a huge skill in itself). When going for a point they were also bang on average with a Conversion Rate of 48% and an Expt Pts of +0.02.

Roscommon cannot rely on converting their only goal chance the next day. Their point taking has not been good enough to date (v Sligo their Conversion Rate was 52% with an Expt Pt of -0.02 when going for a point) to overcome another small shot volume – they need to create more opportunities. Galway on the other hand will look to continue doing what they do – produce average shooting displays, convert any goal chance that comes their way and play suffocating defence.

We saw in the Cavan Tyrone games that replays can take on an entirely different characteristic to the original game. Evidence to date suggests that Galway’s template is repeatable – can Roscommon “up it”?

Roscommon Kickouts

Roscommon had 21 kickouts winning 20 with the only loss being one that went over the sideline. It was surprising, from a number of aspects, to see Galway so passive on the Roscommon kickout. We know from previous games that the Roscommon kickout can take chances (end of the Monaghan league game, 3 kickouts picking wide open Sligo men the last day) and with the wind behind them in the second half I fully expected Galway to apply a full press and hem Roscommon in. Also Roscommon scored 1-08 from their short kickouts against Sligo. Galway should have been aware of their ability to use these possessions and tried to disrupt it – again here they scored 0-04.

Galway didn’t push up and indeed also gave Mayo the kickout. It is something they are obviously comfortable doing and, in the main, the results to date have borne fruit but you sense that their midfield would be better utilised by contesting long Roscommon kickouts which are obviously Roscommon’s least favoured option. The press would also force Roscommon to continue taking dicey short kickouts if they wished to avoid a midfield battle.

Roscommon’s anomalies

Attacking from deep
Roscommon’s attacking from deep was very poor. As noted above they scored 0 – 04 from 18 short kickouts (0.22 pts per possession) but were an abysmal 0-01 from 16 turnover possessions (0.06 pts per possession) that started inside their own 45m line.

Generally you would expect Galway to be more defensively set on the kickouts than the turnovers. Why did Roscommon struggle so much here? (There was a similar split against Sligo with Roscommon returning 0.61 pts per possession from their short kickouts and 0.40 pts from deep turnovers however that return from the kickouts was phenomenal rather than the attacking play from deep turnovers being poor)

I thought perhaps it may have had something to do with their slow build up play. The thinking being that they were set from kickouts and were used to the various player movements but that Galway’s defensive wall somehow stymied them on turnovers. Not so; there were on average 8.35 player touches per possession on their own kickout versus 9.60 for the deep turnovers. A gap yes – indicating slower build up play – but easily explained by the first recipient of the kickout being able to travel at least to half way.

It’s an odd one and given that there’s no simple explanation an area you would expect Roscommon to improve the next day simply by regressing to the mean.

Centrality of second half shooting

Roscommon point attempts from play
Roscommon shooting from play (v Gal)
x = missed, disc = score, black = 1st half from play (with wind), white = 2nd half (against wind)

The above chart shows Roscommon’s point attempts. Firstly we can see how clean Galway kept the sector immediately in front of goal. Secondly there is quite the variation by half in where Roscommon shot from. In the first half they were willing to launch the ball from difficult angles. In the second they were much more conservative whilst being poorer. From this juncture it is hard to tell if that second half conservatism was purely driven by the conditions or if it does indeed show a willingness to take the less certain shot on in such a close game.

What we can say is that there was no such divergence on Galway’s shooting. We need to acknowledge that they had the wind when the pressure was at its most intense in the second half but the lack of change is interesting in itself.

Galway point attempts from play
Galway shooting from play (v Ros)
x = missed, disc = score, black = 1st half from play (against wind), white = 2nd half (with wind)

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