Ballyboden St. Endas v Éire Óg 2019 Leinster Club Final

When reviewing games here we rarely reference the weather (except for last year’s Ulster club final) – mainly because the games covered are intercounty Championship played in the best of weather on (mainly) perfectly maintained pitches. This wasn’t the case here. There was a very strong wind down the pitch, the rain came and went throughout the game leading to a greasy ball and the ground was dead and heavy. All of which led to difficult handling conditions, placing numerous players under huge pressure, as well as changing the normal shooting zones.

A quick visual on how the conditions affected the game – below are the shots from play with the wind (white) and without (black).

Against the wind the furthest score was c25m from the goals. Only one shot was from further than 30m out. This in turn compresses the area that needs to be defended and can lead to more turnovers if the attacking team don’t stand off stringing a series of non-threatening passes together.

With all that said above are the numbers. There were only 31 shots in the game (the Munster final had 45, Ulster 37 and Connacht 36) with a total of 60 turnovers (Munster x43, Ulster x33 and Connacht x34) and 88 possessions (Munster x81, Ulster x69 and Connacht x68). The usual metrics of Shot Rate, Attack Rate and points per possession really don’t stack up.

That’s not to say the high turnover volume was purely down to the conditions. There were 24 turnovers higher up the pitch outside each teams’ respective 45 which is indicative of excellent tackling and physical aggression without cynicism. That lack of cynicism is further evidenced by the fact that there were just five shots at goal from frees throughout the whole game.

When Ballyboden had the ball

Ballyboden may not have taken many shots but they handled the conditions, shooting wise, better than Éire Óg did; they were 70% (0 – 07 from 10) on point attempts from play as against 43% (0 – 06 from 14) for Éire Óg. They also managed to eke out the only shot on goal.

Conal Keaney was evergreen scoring on all three attempts and also setting up another shot.

When Éire Óg had the ball

Éire Óg struggled to use the wind in the first half. They had a purple patch around the 10th minute when they scored 0 – 03 from three in sixty seconds. But outside that they didn’t have another shot in the first 20 minutes and then finished the half with nothing from four attempts.

The accuracy didn’t improve against the wind in the second half scoring another 0 – 03 from seven shots from play whilst another two opportunities went abegging with forced free kicks.
Séan Gannon was immense scoring 0 – 02 from 3 as well as providing the primary assists for another four shots.

Kickouts

Just a quick note on Éire Óg’s kickouts.

black = 1st half, white = 2nd half

They had just the four kickouts in the first half and, with the wind, went long(ish) on all of them winning possession on three. Against Portlaoise their mid to long kickouts broke 50:50 (won five, lost five). All good.

Against the wind they had seven kickouts but lost five; including two of the last three that led to Ballyboden points at the death. Could they have changed up those last few? Should they have? Not once did they go short. Ballyboden did so on three of their six against the wind. In the semi-final Éire Óg went short six times so it was in their locker. But having said that they did win a long one immediately after going a point behind but then kicked the ball away. Who is to say the outcome would be any different if they did go short? And there was a subtle change; their first four against the wind went mid to right and after losing three they went mid left with the last three. It just didn’t work.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: