Archive for the ‘Munster SFC’ Category

Kerry v Cork Munster

July 4, 2017

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
Kerry 54 40 31 1 – 23 19.41
Cork 48 37 30 0 – 15 20.83

At a macro level both teams recorded very similar numbers in terms of Attack & Shot Rate. Kerry had 6 more possessions (in the main from shots recovered & the throw-ins) but only ended up with one more shot. It was Kerry’s clinical finishing that saw then coast to victory.

If you’re explaining you’re losing … but the fact that Cork have a higher Expt Pts tally despite an 11 point beating takes some explaining.

There are two elements to this; the first is the 11 point gap which relates directly to the conversion rate of both teams. We’ll touch on that later. The second is the composition of the shots that allowed Cork to accumulate more Expt Pts.

Both teams had 4 attempts at goal. Cork had a further 26 point attempts to Kerry’s 27 however within that 26 were 10 deadballs and 16 attempts from play. Kerry had 6 deadballs and 21 point attempts. Deadball attempts are converted at a much higher rate than point attempts thus the gap in Expt Pts between the deadballs (Cork’s 10 = 8.23, Kerry’s 6 = 4.51) is such that it overcomes the gap in Expt Pts for the point attempts (Cork’s 16 = 7.76, Kerry’s 21 = 10.06). And that’s how Cork ended up with more Expt Pts.

How Kerry ended up with an 11 point win however is purely down to the Conversion Rates

Kerry’s shooting
As stated Kerry had 4 shots at goal scoring 1- 00. Which is slightly below expected. Their deadballs were flawless scoring 0 – 06 from 6. What stands apart however was their point taking where they manufactured an obscene Conversion Rate of 81% (0 – 17 from 21; Expt Pts +6.94). It was their 14th point attempt – in the 41st minute – before they failed to convert one. They are simply magnificent returns. For some context the average Conversion Rate from 2012 – 2016 was 46%. Dublin, in their drubbing of Westmeath, converted 76% (0 – 22 from 29).

Much has been made of Paul Geaney & James O’Donoghue’s prowess together (I believe it was the Examiner’s John Fogarty (@JohnFogartyIrl) who highlighted the fact that they’ve scored 5 – 58 from play when paired together in 11 Championship games) but what struck me was the supporting cast.

Combined Geaney & O’Donoghue had a stat line of 78% (0 – 07 from 9) with an Expt Pts return of +2.79. Very good indeed. But the supporting cast produced a combined 83% (0 – 10 from 12) with an Expt Pts of +4.15. Seven different players had just the one point attempt with six converting (extra shooting practise for Darran O’Sullivan it would seem ….)

Cork’s defence aided Kerry in their endeavours in that 57% (12 of the 21) of the point attempts were taken under little or no pressure. Whilst this intuitively seems high it is a new metric and we need to be careful about reading too much into it. In the above Westmeath rout 66% of Dublin’s shots were taken under little or no pressure. By the end of the year 57% will probably be on the high side but not ridiculous.

Speaking of new metrics I have started to track shot assists throughout a game. It is still raw, and subjective, but essentially looks to track those placing the bullet in the chamber for others, in this instance Geaney & O’Donoghue, to pull the trigger.

Given how quickly the ball is let into the full forward line it is no surprise to see the front three feature heavily here. What is surprising perhaps are Paul Murphy’s returns. Not surprising in the sense that he’s not capable of such a performance but more so in that he didn’t appear to feature prominently when watching the game live. He very quietly, and very efficiently, pulled the strings.


What of Cork? First the positives – they did create the four goal chances. Yes they only returned 0 – 01 but they did open Kerry up. Their deadballs were – as has been the case with Cork – more or less on point (0 – 08 from 10; Expt Pts of -0.23. Essentially average). In a game where the majority of the commentary has referenced Kerry’s forward play Cork managed 30 shots.

What failed them was (a) the aforementioned inability to slow Kerry’s shooters. Yes Kerry were on fire but they needed to place them under more pressure. And (b) their own shooting. They had 16 points attempts from play but only scored 0 – 06 (38%; Expt Pts of -1.76). Not only was it anaemic when compared to Kerry but it was well below the average.

What might be more damning than the returns is who was shooting. Outside Donncha O’Connor, who came on at half time only Mark Collins got more than one shot off. Kerrigan, Connolly, Coakley, Deane, K O’Driscoll and Hurley all only managed one shot each.


Kerry came out on top of the kickouts that crossed the 45 winning 61% (20 to Cork’s 13). From a “must clean up” perspective they will be unhappy that they only manufactured three shots from 9 of their own kickouts that went past the 45. They also lost two short ones when Cork pushed up. Symptomatic of their day Cork didn’t score off either but those instances could be devastating hammer blows in any other game.


Shot Charts

Kerry’s shooting

Cork’s shooting

x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half from play, white = 2nd half, red = goal attempt

Cork V Kerry 2015 Munster Championship

July 6, 2015

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).

Kerry V Cork Preview 2015 Munster Championship

July 3, 2015

Original transcripts of the three games can be found at 2012, 2013, 2014

When Cork have the Ball

Year Attacks Shots Shot % Scores Success % Weighting
2012 37 31 84% 17 55% +1.481
2013 30 26 87% 17 65% +3.850
2014 26 23 88% 12 52% -0.359
Avg 37.0 28.7 77.7% 14.7 51.2%

Cork’s attacking play disintegrated last year. They managed a full 16 less attacks than Kerry did however this was the tipping point of a trend (if 3 games can be considered a trend!) rather than a one off. And something they need to rectify this Sunday.

The difference in attacks over the three years was Cork +4, Cork -7 & Cork -16. 2014’s defeat, whilst comprehensive, was not completely unexpected when compared to 2013. Yes Cork only lost by two points in 2013 but their shooting was sublime that day converting 65% of their shots and only leaving Kerry’s 45 without a shot on four occasions. They couldn’t repeat the trick in 2014.

Last year they converted 88% of their attacks to shots but their attack volume was so low that average shooting only produced 12 points. On 26 attacks an average team will score 0-10 or 1-09 … to get the 17 points that Cork achieved in 2012 and 2013, off average shooting, they will need 42 attacks. Assuming they maintain a high Shot Rate (in the mid 80 percentile) then off average shooting they need 39 attacks.

If they get the best of both worlds – a high Shot Rate and a high Conversion Rate (60%) – they still need 33 attacks. Sunday *has* to be about primary possession and transference of that possession into the 45. They have proved over the three years that they can manufacture shots when they attack and that their shooting is above average. They just need the ball.

From Play

Shots Scores Success % Weighting
2012 22 12 55% +2.34
2013 18 10 56% +2.19
2014 16 5 31% -1.96
Avgs 21.4 9.7 45.3%

Of course what would help immensely are goals. Or even one goal. In the last three games Cork have only manufactured 8 goal shots and returned a paltry 0 – 03. I say *only* as for comparison (unfair) Dublin managed 8 attempts at goal against Kildare scoring 4 – 01 whilst (fair?) combined Dublin & Kerry managed 9 in two games against the vaunted Donegal defence.

Cork were better in 2014 as they managed four attempts but they all came in the last ~15 minutes when the game was over.

Even with four missed goal shots in the numbers Cork’s 2014 shooting from play was abysmal; 33% going for a point (4 from 12) with a combined weighting of -1.335. They’ll need to rediscover the shooting boots from ’12 & ’13 to win on Sunday.

For points by Sector

Sector Shots Scores Success % Weighting
2 1 1 100% +0.62
4 10 3 30% -0.59
5 13 8 62% +1.52
6 9 3 33% -0.23
7 8 4 50% +0.60
8 4 4 100% +1.17
9 3 1 33% -0.25

Nothing about where Cork are shooting from stands out hugely except perhaps that they are just average when shooting from the wings. Against the big teams this can be a productive area as they mind the square – think Flynn against Donegal in last year’s AI semi final. If Cork are going to continue taking 67% (32 of 48 attempts) of their point attempts from between the 20 & 45m then they’ll have to convert more from the wings.

When Kerry have the Ball

Year Attacks Shots Shot % Scores Success % Weighting
2012 33 27 82% 12 44% -1.100
2013 37 33 89% 17 52% +1.345
2014 42 38 90% 24 63% +4.575
Avg 37.0 28.7 77.7% 14.7 51.2%

Kerry’s attacking play has improved year on year with a step up in every metric (attacks, Shot Rate, Success Rate & weighting) from ’12 to ’13 to ’14.

Not much more that can be added really – more of the same from a Kerry perspective

From Play

Shots Scores Success % Weighting
2012 20 9 45% +0.08
2013 26 11 42% -0.05
2014 31 19 61% +4.68
Avgs 21.4 9.7 45.3%

Much like Cork if there was one area of concern for Kerry (concern is a bit strong – an area that needs polishing) it would be their goal taking. In the three games they’ve taken 10 shots at goal but scored only 1 – 02.

Their point taking in 2014 was phenomenal (67% Success Rate with a weighting of +5.313) however prior to that it was average. So what was the difference?

My immediate reaction was to say O’Donoghue – take him out of the picture given his phenomenal 2014 performance and the three games would level off. Not quite

Shots Scores Success % Weighting
2012 18 7 39% -1.14
2013 22 8 36% -1.44
2014 21 11 52% +1.72

Yes O’Donoghue had a huge bearing but the rest of the team stepped up as well. Now undoubtedly they were getting more space (a) due to O’Donoghue and (b) due to the nature of the game compared to ’12 & ’13 but as a collective they still outperformed the two previous years. Something for Cork to note perhaps when they review the 2014 tape.

As for O’Donoghue? He has been incredible against Cork converting 93% (!!) of his point attempts over the three years. Below is his shot chart from ’13 & ’14 (the ’12 version has gone awol) showing how close into goal he has played.

O'Donoghue V Cork
x = for a goal, white = for a point

From Deadballs

Shots Scores Success % Weighting
2012 7 3 43% -1.18
2013 7 6 86% +1.40
2014 7 5 71% -0.11

I stated above that one area Kerry might look to polish up on was goal shots – there is a second. Their deadball shooting has been average over the past three games scoring 0-14 from 21 attempts (67% conversion Rate).

If Cork can keep it close, and increase the pressure on the free taking, this may just be an area that will let Kerry down on Sunday.

Cork V Kerry 2014 Championship

July 8, 2014

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 Shots Shot Rate Scores Success Rate Weighting
Cork 26 23 88% 12 52% -0.359
Kerry 42 38 90% 24 63% +4.575
Champ (’12 & ’13 avg) 35.8 27.6 77.2% 14.1 51.0%

A stunning performance from Kerry no matter the metric. Outstanding accuracy on a very high Shot Rate from a large base of attacking possessions. You could not ask for more.

Their dominance can be summed up in a few nuggets
• In 18 minutes play in the first half Cork controlled the ball once inside Kerry’s 45
• After Cork started the second half with three points Kerry had 13 of the next 14 attacks
• Kerry did not misplace a pass for 31 minutes in the 2nd half

Whilst both teams have lost a large number of household names from last year Cork’s inability to get attacking possession here is a carryover from the 2013 Munster Final. That day they had 30 attacking possessions (to Kerry’s 37) but had a phenomenal Success Rate of 65% that got them back into the game. Here there was no repeat of that shooting accuracy and the paucity of attacking ball told for their chances pretty quickly.

Indeed the metrics may actually hide just how poor Cork were. Excluding the last 10 minutes, when Kerry arguably let up (I present Cork gaining possession on their last 8 kickouts as evidence!) their possession total was 20.

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
Cork 16 6 31% -1.964
Kerry 31 19 61% +4.684
Champ avgs (’12 & ’13) 20.3 9.2 45.4%

In the Dublin – Laois game it was noted that “It will be an exceptional shooting performance that tops what we witnessed” when commenting on Ross Munnelly’s performance. At the time he had topped anything we had seen in 2013 – O’Donoghue’s day was another leap above that.

O’Donoghue recorded an 80% Success Rate on 10 shots with a weighting of +2.967 – and one of his misses was an attempt at goal. He therefore had an 89% Success Rate when going for points. Ridiculous.

He was ably supported by Geaney & Buckley who combined for a Success Rate of 70% on 10 shots with a combined weighting of +2.564. Three players combining for 0-15 from play from 20 shots. The average would be 0-09.

If you wanted to find something to gripe about then the fact that they didn’t convert any of their four goal shots could be one area. But you would really be stretching for a gripe. Another area that may be of concern is the lack of pressure that Cork placed on the forwards – could this performance be reproduced?

Of their 27 shots for a point 17 were taken under no pressure – 63% in total. Kerry converted 11 of these for a Success Rate of 65%. Of those taken under pressure 70% were converted (7 out of 10). No real difference in terms of conversion rates and nothing that could be gleaned regarding future games.

Prior to the Championship I wrote about how Kerry would struggle to replace the quality of Cooper’s returns (here). I was reminded during the week of the Ewing concept articulated by Bill Simmons – essentially how other players step up and show themselves to be better than previously thought when a leader is injured. Step 1 for Kerry well and truly accomplished.

Cork’s numbers look terrible from an accuracy stand point and it could be argued that this is driven in the main by desperate attempts for goal at the end of the game. After 60 minutes however their weighting was -0.957 on (a paltry) 11 shots. Their radar was missing from early doors.

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
B Sheehan (Kerry) 4 3 75% +0.340
J O’Donoghue (Kerry) 3 2 67% -0.449
D Goulding (Cork) 4 4 100% +1.199
B Hurley (Cork) 3 3 100% +0.406
team avgs (’12 & ’13 Champ) 7.3 4.9 66.7%

About the only positive you could take from this game, from a Cork perspective, was Goulding’s deadball striking. Hurley hit 3 from 3 however they were all very central; Goulding on the other hand converted a 45 and a very tight free on the corner of the sideline and 20m line.

The impression that one will take from this game, re Kerry’s deadball striking, is Bryan Sheehan’s effortless 45 & the ridiculous free from the sideline on the 13m line. However the overall returns paint a different picture. On top of those two sublime efforts were two misses one of which was on top of the D.

Prior to this game there were 12 Kerry Championship games in the database that showed a 62% Success Rate (31 from 50), with a combined weighting of +0.720, for non Cooper deadballs. Essentially average. Despite the perceptions from the Sheehan’s efforts the returns here were much the same – a Success Rate of 71% (5 from 7) with a combined weighting of -0.109


Cork’s kickouts Won % Turned into a possession % Shot %
Cork 20 61% 11 55% 10 50%
Kerry 13 39% 10 77% 10 77%
Kerry’s kickouts Won % Turned into a possession % Shot %
Cork 8 47% 6 75% 5 63%
Kerry 9 53% 7 78% 7 78%

(note that there was no 65m line marked on the pitch – therefore trying to identify “long” & “mid” kickouts was difficult on borderline 65m kickouts)

The full set of numbers, over 70 minutes, do not reflect the dominance that Kerry had in this area nor the apparent lack of alternative strategies that Cork seemed to possess.

Kerry lost 8 of their kickouts to Cork but two were in the first three minutes whilst three were at the end in the last 10 minutes. For the 60 minutes in between Kerry won 7 of their own 10 kickouts gaining 0-05 points to Cork’s 0-01.

Cork do not appear to have performed too badly on their own kickout however their performance was bookended by winning 8 of their first 10 and also their last 8 when the game was gone. Whilst the game was in the melting pot they lost 11 out of 15.

Despite getting cleared out in this period of the game the kickout never really varied – it was kicked c55-70m with a range of about 10m either side of the centre – a nice big rectangle for Sheehan, Buckley, Walsh & Maher to establish base camp. During this phase, either side of half time, Kerry manufactured 9 shots from possessions on Cork kickouts to Cork’s two.

What is surprising is that Cork never went short. They did so on one in five of their kickouts in the league game against Kerry and had manufactured two shots from the two short kickouts they had executed prior to this phase (admittedly one of them was taken by Cahalane under severe pressure but it was taken).

Contrast this steadfast approach with that of Kerry. Cork came out in the 2nd half with the wind and manufactured three points from four shots. This included winning two Kerry kickouts that had been dispatched down the middle. Kerry’s response? They went short with the next one and relieved the pressure


Team “coughing up” possession Shots from Turnovers %
Cork 26 19 73%
Kerry 18 8 44%


Misplaced Pass Tackled Shots not going dead Other
Cork 11 7 4 4
Kerry 6 6 3 3

Very good from Kerry. When they did receive a turnover they converted 73% into a shot which is up there with the best returns we have seen (small sample size granted).

But perhaps more impressive was what they did on turnover ball that they forced. One could group “Mishandled” and “fouled ball” with tackles as generally these occur because of the pressure being employed by the opposition. Kerry thus “forced” 11 turnovers and they converted these forced turnovers to a shot 91% of the time (10 from 11). That has got to be hugely demoralising to the opposition.

On the other hand Kerry only misplaced 6 passes in the entire game. In the second half they went 31 minutes without misplacing (opposition getting the ball) a pass.

Shot Charts

Cork’s shooting
Cork Shooting (V Kerry)

Kerry’s shooting
Kerry shooting (V Cork)
x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half from play, white = 2nd half from play

Players with >= 2 shots from play

Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
J O’Donoghue (Kerry) 10 8 80% +2.967
J Buckley (Kerry) 5 4 80% +1.907
P Geaney (Kerry) 5 3 60% +0.658
B Hurley (Cork) 4 1 25% -0.591
D Goulding (Cork) 3 2 67% +0.643
S O’Brien (Kerry) 3 1 33% -0.265
P Kerrigan (Cork) 2 0 0% -0.833

Kerry V Cork 2013

July 9, 2013

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 Shots Shot Rate Scores Success Rate Weighting
Kerry 37 33 89% 17 52% +0.9428
Cork 30 26 87% 17 65% +4.8194
2012 avg 35.28 27.02 76.6% 13.96 51.67%

A cursory glance at the above table would lend one to believe that Cork were much the better team – their Shot Rate was on a par with Kerry’s; their Success Rate was above Kerry’s whilst their weighting was as good as you’ll find. Lies, damned lies and statistics eh?

Cork’s problems stemmed from the fact that they did not get enough attacking ball. Their Shot Rate may have been very similar to Kerry’s but that still produced 7 less shots. The very high weighting shows that the shots they did take were of a generally higher tariff but they just did not get enough of them.

As a comparison in the three games against Kerry in 2010 & 2012 (see here) Cork had an average of 37.67 possessions and 30.33 shots. In a tight game, as these games generally are, not having those 5 extra shots proved decisive.

Kerry’s game plan was excellent. In the first half they took 12 shots from inside 25m scoring 1-07; by comparison Cork scored 0-02 from 3 shots within 25m. Kerry’s Success Rate was bang on average because their second half returns dropped whilst their long range shooting (from play) was poor overall. Kerry only had a Success Rate of 13% (1 from 8) from shots taken from play outside c35m.

In the three games referenced above Kerry averaged 24 shots. Just as Cork found it hard to overcome the 5 shots they dropped they equally could not afford to allow Kerry to have an extra 9 shots.

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
Kerry 26 11 42% -0.4357
Cork 18 10 56% +3.1267
2012 team avgs 20.14 9.36 46.5%

Cork were very poor shooting from play early on. They only converted 36% (4 from 11) until the 54th minute with 4 of those 7 misses not having any Kerry pressure on the shot. After that they hit 86% (6 from 7) with Hurley’s saved goal shot in injury time being the only miss.

As stated above Kerry were very good at moving the ball in close for a shot in the first half and though they were racking up scores the relative ease of the shots meant that their weighting wasn’t dramatic. Indeed the shooting was so poor out the field that their Success Rate, at bang on the average of 42%, was less than those in the three previous games – 44% & 45% in the two 2010 games plus 45% in 2012.

If there is a concern from Kerry it will not only be the volume of shots in the second half (7 in the final 30 minutes) but also who took them. The two O’Sullivans & O’Donoghue had great joy in the first half (5 from 9)however in those final 30 minutes the shooters were M O’Sé, Buckley, T O’Sé , Walsh, T O’Sé, Maher & Crowley. Only Crowley & M O’Se converted

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
C Cooper (Kerry) 4 3 75% -0.064
B Kealy (Kerry) 1 1 100% +0.500
B Sheehan (Kerry) 1 1 100% +0.500
J Buckley (Kerry) 1 1 100% +0.442
D Goulding (Cork) 7 6 86% +1.637
D O’Connor (Cork) 1 1 100% +0.442
2012 team avgs 6.88 4.6 66.9%

This is an area that Kerry have struggled in to date ( see here) but it was a tower of strength for them in this game with Sheehan & Kealy converting two enormous frees.

Goulding had a magnificent day from the ground with his only miss coming from past the 45m way out on the right. His returns place him squarely on top of the deadball charts.

Questions however need to be asked however over the decision to go for a point with the last 45. Whose call was it – the players on the pitch? The sideline? Or worse still was there no communication at all? The timings were as follows

70:30 Hurley’s shot is saved
71:07 Ball is placed for 45m
71:28 Ball sails over crossbar
71:58 Ball kicked out
72:05 Free to Kerry with no more action thereafter

What is the strategic thought process when that ball goes wide? Try for a draw (through 3 points or a goal) or go for a win with a point & a goal? If you are going for a draw through three points you cannot take 58 seconds from the wide to the ball going over the bar. Even if you get the score quickly you need four things to happen – win possession, score from shot, win possession & score from shot.

By going for a point here the process cannot be going for a win surely? You cannot rationally expect to score a goal on the next kickout – it is possible but as a strategic option?

The only option Goulding had here was to drop the ball in and get a goal chance from the 45m directly or from the next attack should Kerry defend that. By going for the point the logic was either flawed by going for a win or the execution in a very, very (too?) small timeframe was too slow.

Shot Charts
Kerry’s shooting

Kerry shooting

Cork’s shooting

Cork shooting

x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, white = play

Kerry Cork kickouts

Again a bit of a surprising return however like the shooting this was a game of two halves. Kerry won possession on 56% (15 of 27) of the kickouts in the first half whereas Cork won 68% (17 of 25) in te second.

What Kerry were excellent at was moving the ball into an attacking position from the primary possession they won. They won possession from kickouts on five fewer occasions than Cork yet managed to get the ball into the Cork’s 45 on two more occasions.

One thing to note is that Kerry didn’t really use the short kickout. The one time they did try it the ball went over the sideline and gave Cork good field position.

Players with >= 2 shots from play
It is a almost a requirement for defenders to get up the field and shoot, as evidenced by T O’Sé and Loughrey taking 6 shots between them however I’m sure O’Sé will be working on his finishing in the coming weeks!

Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
J O’Donoghue (Kerry) 4 3 75% +1.377
Declan O’Sullivan (Kerry) 4 2 50% +0.155
A Walsh (Cork) 4 1 25% -0.388
T O’Sé (Kerry) 4 0 0% -1.848
B Hurley (Cork) 3 2 67% +0.683
P Kerrigan (Cork) 3 1 33% -0.074
P Galvin (Kerry) 3 1 33% -0.291
A Maher (Kerry) 3 1 33% -0.465
J Loughrey (Cork) 2 2 100% +1.286
D O’Connor (Cork) 2 1 50% +0.355
Darren O’Sullivan (Kerry) 2 1 50% +0.007
J Buckley (Kerry) 2 0 0% -0.748

Kerry V Tipperary 2013

May 30, 2013

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 Shots Shot Rate Scores Success Rate Weighting
Kerry 47 37 79% 21 57% +3.4764
Tipperary 27 19 70% 8 42% -1.843
2012 avg 35.28 27.02 76.6% 13.96 51.67%

Sometimes there is very little that can be added to the bare numbers. Kerry had 74% more possessions & 95% more shots. Their dominance was complete.

Shots from play

Team Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
Kerry 28 17 61% +4.0449
Tipperary 10 2 20% -1.755
2012 avg 20.14 9.36 46.47%

Tipperary’s shooting from play was abject both in terms of quantity & quality. They didn’t shoot from inside the 20m line until the 28th minute whilst it was the 2nd half before they scored from play.

Kerry’s shooting was very good. To maintain such a high weighting, and Success Rate, whilst reigning in shots is testament of this. One note of caution however would be the quality of the opposition they faced. This is factored into the weighting, to an extent, as they were well ahead for the majority of the game (see here for explanation) however they only faced pressure on 1 of the first 7 shots they took in the 1st half – scoring 6 points. Tipperary started slow and maintained that gear throughout the game.

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
J Buckley (Kerry) 4 2 50% -0.155
B Sheehan (Kerry) 3 1 33% -0.318
C Cooper (Kerry) 2 1 50% -0.096
B Grogan (Tipperary) 4 3 75% +0.059
C Sweeney (Tipperary) 3 3 100% +0.959
A Maloney (Tipperary) 1 0 0% -0.548
I Fahey (Tipperary) 1 0 0% -0.558
2012 team avgs 6.88 4.6 66.9%

Anyone who has read the blog for any length will know that one of Kerry’s major weak points is their deadball accuracy. In a game with no real pressure they had a return of 44% and a weighting of -0.569. Below are the combined ’12 Championship & ’13 League returns for games charted. Compare this to Donegal or Mayo’s returns.

Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
’12 Championship 29 17 59% -4.76
’13 League 21 11 52% -3.71

Kerry’s shooting

Kerry shooting

Tipperary’s shooting
Tipperary shooting

x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, white = play



Kerry were utterly dominant with a +16 differential in kickouts won a +12 in shots from those kickouts.

Kerry generally do not hit their kickouts long. In the 4 league games charted only 18% went beyond the 65m line – that continued in this game with only 13% (2/15) going long.

Players with >= 2 shots from play

Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
J O’Donoghue (Kerry) 6 4 67% +0.888
C Cooper (Kerry) 5 4 80% +2.054
D Walsh (Kerry) 4 1 25% -0.533
P Galvin (Kerry) 3 2 67% +0.759
T O’Sé (Kerry) 3 1 33% -0.342
P Austin (Tipperary) 2 1 50% +0.248
Darran O’Sullivan (Kerry) 2 1 50% -0.106
Declan O’Sullivan (Kerry) 2 1 50% -0.106
P Acheson (Tipperary) 2 0 0% -0.714

Cork V Clare

July 11, 2012
Team Possessions Shots Shot Rate Scores Success Rate Return Vs Expected
Clare 38 31 82% 13 42% -3.25
Cork 44 36 82% 19 53% +1.76
avg 38.5 27.6 71.7% 13.9 50.4% 0.00

Overall it has the shape of what a table for a Division1 Vs Division4 game should look like. It’s very hard to gauge how Cork are doing as the game was over as a contest before half time. There are perhaps a few areas that Counihan would be a bit concerned about (we’ll look at them below) but really I don’t think we discovered anything about this team that we didn’t already know.

From play

Team Shots Scores Success Rate Vs Expected
Clare 28 11 39% -2.54
Cork 34 19 56% +3.13
avg 20.5 9.2 44.9% 0.00

From deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success Rate Vs Expected
C O’Neill (Cork) 2 0 0% -1.37
D Tubridy (Clare) 3 2 67% -0.71
team avgs 7.2 4.8 66.2% 0.00

Cork’s shooting from play was very good however their strating 6 forwards produced a line of
29 shots – 14 scores – 48.3% Success Rate – +0.45 Expected Return
Against a relatively soft, stand offish defence I’d imagine Counihan would like to have seen something a bit better than average.

O’Neill hit the post with both his deadballs. Whilst that can be deemed unlucky he really should have converted them – in the two games Cork have played they have now scored on 33% of their deadballs (3 from 7 in the Kerry game). They will need to up this.

It would be remiss to go without acknowledging some of the Clare performances. O’Shea was exceedingly accurate and is one of those displays that will be immediately forgotten – much like Keating’s against Donegal for Cavan – however it is no mean feat to hit 4 from 4 against Cork. Donnelly also had a very good game – it is just a shame for Clare that their main man, Tubridy, was so inaccurate.

Players with >= 2 shots from play

  Shots Scores Success Rate Vs Expected
C O’Neill (Cork) 10 4 40% -0.23
D Tubridy (Clare) 8 1 13% -2.70
C Sheehan (Cork) 5 4 80% +1.79
P Kerrigan (Cork) 5 2 40% -0.42
D O’Connor (Cork) 5 2 40% -0.51
M O’Shea (Clare) 4 4 100% +1.96
R Donnelly (Clare) 4 3 75% +0.92

Cork Vs Kerry

June 11, 2012

A slight change in format for this game. Uniquely I have three Cork-Kerry games charted (both Munster SFC games in 2010 & Sunday’s game) so we can make direct comparisons with how the teams performed then and now. Firstly we’ll focus on Kerry and whether they are in such a state of decline that Joe Brolly felt comfortable enough to liken them to Fermanagh.

Game Possessions Shots Shot Rate Scores Success Rate Return Vs Expected
2010 32 24 75% 15 63% +2.98
2010 Replay 35 21 60% 11 52% +0.35
2012 33 27 82% 12 44% -2.06

There are a few things that immediately jump out. Firstly the number of possessions that Kerry had are very, very similar across the three matches. Have Kerry changed *that* much? Or is it that the outcome of the most recent game changes our perception of how games are played? If Kerry have suddenly slowed down the speed at which they deliver the ball into the forwards then you would expect a bigger volume of possessions in the two 2010 games. It isn’t there. And what of the fact that they were able to get more shots off on Sunday than in both games in 2010? Does that not point to a management team who knew what worked in 2010 (they were inseparable from that year’s champions over 140 minutes) but refined what they were doing to get more shots off? The bare numbers do not support the ‘terminal decline’ arguement.

What let Kerry down wasn’t their style of play, for this produced more shots from a very similar level of possession this time around, but rather their execution. Their success rate was way down on what they achieved in both 2010 games and it wasn’t because they were taking harder shots. An expected return of -2.06 from Sunday shows that they simply should have converted more of the chances they had.

From play

Game Shots Scores Success Rate Vs Expected
2010 16 7 44% +0.19
2010 Replay 11 5 45% -0.03
2012 20 9 45% -0.24

From deadballs

Game Shots Scores Success Rate Vs Expected
2010 8 8 100% +2.79
2010 Replay 9 6 67% +0.38
2012 7 3 43% -1.82

Again Kerry’s returns from play were very similar; again they got more points from play on Sunday because they had more possessions. As an aside those shooting returns are basically a sea of mediocrity – with the forwards that Kerry possess you would expect their class to rise at some stage. Without any empirical evidence I’m willing to give the Cork defenders a lot of credit for ‘caging’ that Kerry attack.

What let Kerry down badly on Sunday was their deadballs. Could it be that the huge malaise at the heart of the Kerry team could be as simple as missing Bryan Sheehan? Kealy missed two central 45s whilst Galvin also had a bad miss … you would have to expect Sheehan to get 2 of those 3. If he did that would make it 0-15 to 0-14 with 5 minutes to go. Would this Kerry team’s obituaries be so quickly written??

There is another side to this story which is how Cork performed – they can be extremely happy with their first outing.

Game Possessions Shots Shot Rate Scores Success Rate Return Vs Expected
2010 38 30 79% 15 50% +0.63
2010 Replay 38 31 82% 13 42% -3.05
2012 37 31 84% 17 55% +1.55

Again the possession & shot rates are very similar to 2010 (remarkably so – you’d think these two teams know each other inside out or something). Again the slow, old Kerry that was being criticised on the match commentary didn’t let Cork have any extra ball inside their 45m line – they didn’t let Cork have any extra shots. What did happen was that the Cork forwards stepped up a gear from the previous encounters

From play

Game Shots Scores Success Rate Vs Expected
2010 25 11 44% -0.11
2010 Replay 20 8 40% -1.14
2012 22 12 55% +2.37

From deadballs

Game Shots Scores Success Rate Vs Expected
2010 5 4 80% +0.74
2010 Replay 11 5 45% -1.91
2012 9 5 56% -0.82

Cork had a lot more possessions and shots than Kerry in all three games. The difference was that on Sunday the Cork forwards converted a greater percentage of the shots. The success rate for shots from play for the 4 games in 2010 was 44%, 45%, 44% & 40% – little or no difference. This time around Kerry maintained their end of the bargain – 45% – but Cork upped their performance to 55%. Is this due to an old, tired Kerry falling off challenges and letting Cork have easier shots? Of the 22 shots from play that Cork had I charted 68% (15 shots) of these coming from players under pressure; in 2010 the equivalent numbers were 60% and 50%. I am much more inclined to put Cork’s improved shooting performance down to the Cork forwards than to anything Kerry did or didn’t do.

The three games are more or less the same with two vital differences leading to Sunday’s result; Kerry’s deadball accuracy went awry and the Cork forwards’ shooting from play stepped up a notch. I fear that the Kerry obituaries currently being written are forced and we’re missing the truth staring straight at us – the Cork machine is ticking along nicely.

Tipperary Vs Kerry

May 28, 2012
Team Possessions Shots Shot Rate Scores Success Rate
Tipperary 30 25 83% 10 40%
Kerry 37 27 73% 16 59%
avg 41.8 28.3 67.7% 14.1 49.8%

Thanks Tipp! One week after saying we might not see another 80% shot rate this year Tipperay only go and give us 83%.

When Galway returned a shot rate of 80% it was due to a soft Roscommon defence. This time however I’m more inclined to attribute the high shot rate to Tipperary’s patience in working what little attacking ball they had into shooting positions. It was their shooting from play, after working hard to get the opening, that let them down.

In 2010 Kerry were very good at limiting the opposition to below average possessions – this seems to have continued through to 2012. It will be a blog post for later in the year but understanding how much attacking ball the opposition is going to “let” you have should be a big part of a manager’s equation for when to introduce second half substitutions. Kerry don’t give you as many possessions as other teams – you need to get your subs on earlier if you want to them to affect the scoreboard.

That’s 2 teams so far this year that have had a shot rate over 80%. This could be a blip or the emergence of a trend – a deliberate possession based approach worked on over the Winter to counteract the mass defences. Time will tell.

From play

Team Shots Scores Success Rate Vs Expected
Tipperary 17 5 29% -3.20
Kerry 17 9 53% +1.07
avg 21.1 9.3 44.0% 0.00

From deadballs

Shots Scores Success Rate Vs Expected
B Sheehan (Ker) 8 5 63% -1.20
C Cooper (Ker) 2 2 100% +0.12
A Maloney (Tipp) 4 3 75% +1.18
M Quinlivan (Tipp) 4 2 50% -1.50
team avgs 7.3 4.8 66.5% 0.00

Tipperary worked hard to keep the ball and get into shooting range – and then blew it. 12 of Tipperary’s 17 shots from play were from in front of the posts (sections 5 & 8) however only 4 of these were converted. That won’t cut it in any game -let alone one against Kerry.

Kerry were Kerry – efficient at converting possession to shots and above average with their shooting accuracy. The one real drawback of note would be their deadball striking. Brian Sheehan is a very good free taker but against Tipperary he was below average. He missed 2 frees inside the 45m and the ones he converted were not sufficiently difficult enough to bring his performance back up.

One thing that Kerry are very good at is working the ball into positions that are favourable to their forwards. The below shows where they took their shots from and compares it to what Donegal & Galway did.

Segment 1-3 4&6 5 7&9 8
from play 0% 40% 20% 10% 30%
in total 4% 50% 14% 7% 25%
from play 0% 36% 21% 21% 21%
in total 0% 38% 22% 19% 22%
from play 0% 24% 29% 18% 29%
in total 4% 22% 33% 11% 30%

Now this comes with a big caveat in that it is each teams first game of the year but Kerry’s shooting is conspicuously weighted towards the sections directly in front of goal. 63% of their shots came from in front of the goals (section 5 & 8) as oppossed to 44% and 39% for Galway & Donegal respectively. They are taking shots from areas that favour their forwards; ones that consistently have a better success rate. Once we have a few games for each of the main protagonists we’ll have a better view of the individual team’s tactics re where they want to shoot from.

Players with >= 2 shots from play

Shots Scores Success Rate Vs Expected
C Cooper (Ker) 4 2 50% +0.33
P Austin (Tipp) 4 1 25% -1.30
P Acheson (Tipp) 3 2 67% +0.80
Declan O’Sullivan (Ker) 3 2 67% +0.73
A Maloney (Tipp) 3 1 33% -0.32
Darran O’Sullivan (Ker) 3 1 33% -0.57
K O’Leary (Ker) 2 1 50% +0.01
H Coghlan (Tipp) 2 1 50% -0.08
G Hannigan (Tipp) 2 0 0% -0.80
M Quinlivan (Gal) 2 0 0% -1.10

Quinlivan had a tough day all round. Kerry’s big guns, whilst not firing, were adequate.