Posts Tagged ‘Antrim’

Antrim V Donegal 2014 Championship

June 24, 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
Antrim 31 22 71% 12 55% +1.680
Donegal 48 38 79% 19 50% +1.000
Champ (’12 & ’13 avg) 35.8 27.6 77.2% 14.1 51.0%

Lies, damned lies & statistics. Read a certain way you could justifiably argue that Antrim’s shooting was as good as Donegal’s. They “just” happened to have 35% less attacking possessions and 42% less shots.

That is obviously being facetious but if Bradley is looking for some positives from the game then that is not a bad place to start. Their deadball accuracy was well above average and whilst they didn’t have enough shots from play, when they did shoot, against what is generally considered a ferocious defence, there were positive signs.

As for Donegal? This is a very different return from them than we are used to seeing. They generally have a low volume of possessions (last 5 championship returns were 33, 28, 31, 34 & 29) but an excellent Success Rate thus eeking out the very most from what attacking ball they have. Here they had average Success Rates but on a lot of attacking ball.

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
Antrim 14 6 43% +0.353
Donegal 32 16 50% +1.644
Champ avgs (’12 & ’13) 20.3 9.2 45.4%

Thirty two shots from play. Thirty two! For Donegal! Again the last 5 Championship returns were 18, 15, 14, 11 & 12.

Within those thirty two shots were five attempts at a goal with a stat line of 4 from 5 (although he went for goal McLoone still got a point) and a weighting of +1.663. The remaining 27 attempts for a point returned a Success Rate of 44% with a weighting of -0.019. Donegal were basically average when shooting for points.

For a team that has placed such emphasis on high Success Rates this will concern Donegal – and it is not a case of poor shooting once the pressure was off in the second half. The first half stat line when shooting for points was 38% (5 from 13) and a weighting of -0.482.

In the Derry game commentary it was noted that the big three of Murphy, McFadden & McBrearty had not performed (2 from 8 for a 25% Success Rate & a weighting of -1.734) but that they were unlikely to be as poor again.

Yeah about that … they produced an almost identical return here (2 from 8 for a 25% Success Rate and a weighting of -1.899). For reference in their 6 games on the run towards Sam in 2012 those three players combined for 39% of all Donegal’s shots from play with a Success Rate of 42%.

In their stead the likes of MacNiallais, O’Conner, McLoone & Toye all had good games. There is a bit of the “rock & hard place” about this. You want your marquee forwards to fire but when they don’t others must pick up the slack. That has happened twice so far for Donegal – can the big three turn it around in the final?

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
M Murphy (Donegal) 5 2 40% -0.803
C McFadden (Donegal) 1 1 100% +0.160
B Neeson (Antrim) 4 3 75% +0.519
T McCann (Antrim) 3 2 67% +0.356
P Cunningham (Antrim) 1 1 100% +0.453
team avgs (’12 & ’13 Champ) 7.3 4.9 66.7%

A surprisingly “weak” performance from Donegal’s dynamic duo. Granted Sunday’s performance was one long range free away from being average (Murphy hit 1 from 4 balls around the 45) but in 2012, when Donegal powered to the All Ireland, those long range frees were going over. That year they were hitting a combined 78%, let alone average.

I am always blinded by Donegal’s performance against Cork in the 2012 semi final when it comes to their defensive discipline. In that game they gave away one free within scoreable range and whilst it’s unrealistic to expect a repeat every game that is the standard they have set for themselves. Here they gave away seven frees within range which, when viewed as a percentage on the volume of attacks, is a free on 22% of Antrim’s forays into the 45.

Now part of this can be attributed to defending against goal shots in the second half but still – against a team with more attacks this percentage cannot (and in all likelihood will not) be maintained.


Antrim’s kickouts Won % Turned into a possession % Shot %
Antrim 13 43% 8 62% 5 38%
Donegal 17 57% 15 88% 14 82%
Donegal’s kickouts Won % Turned into a possession % Shot %
Antrim 5 26% 4 80% 3 60%
Donegal 14 74% 14 100% 12 86%

Donegal were hugely efficient on their own kickouts because Antrim employed a strategy, in the main, of “letting” Donegal gain possession on short kickouts and only engaging meaningfully on their own 45.

We missed where two of Donegal’s kickouts landed but 9 of the remaining 17 went short with Donegal getting 7 shots from the possessions on those short kickouts. Of the other 8 that were contestable (ball landed outside the 45) Antrim won the possession battle 5-3 with both teams getting 3 shots each from those possessions.

Having a strategy of allowing teams to have short kickouts and engaging them with a defensive set up is fine but you must ensure the opposition cannot get shots off. Those extra bodies back have to have a positive impression on what the opposition does. Antrim would have been better pressing up the pitch and forcing Durcan to kick longer.

You can lose the opposition’s kickouts and it may not be detrimental to your team’s overall prospects as long as you manage your own kickouts. This didn’t happen for Antrim. From this vantage they appeared to have a gameplan of banging the ball straight down the middle to McKeever and hoping he would win high ball. Of their first 20 kickouts 14 went long.

Superficially it worked for Antrim in the first half. Of the 9 long kickouts in that half they won the battle 6-3. However Donegal got a shot from the three that they did win scoring 0-02. Antrim only got one shot from their six wins and didn’t score from it. Counting who won the kickout would lead you to believe that Antrim’s strategy was working. Go one step further and you could tell that it could spell trouble. And it did.

At the start of the second half Antrim persisted with the strategy. 5 of the first 7 went long. Antrim won the first one and got a point. Donegal won the next three, hemmed Antrim in with three shots scoring 1-01 and the game was done.


Team “coughing up” possession # turnovers Shots from Turnovers %
Antrim 20 7 35%
Donegal 22 14 64%


Misplaced Pass Tackled Shots not going dead Mishandled possession Fouled ball
Antrim 9 3 2 1 5
Donegal 11 6 4 0 1

Low levels of overall turnovers as both teams were relatively good at maintaining whatever kickout possession they won. What turnovers they did garner was poorly transferred to attack by Donegal.

Donegal received the ball inside their own 45 twelve times but only converted two of these to attacks.

Shot Charts
So that conspiracy theory about the big teams not shooting from the left – forget about it. Donegal hit 13 shots from the left with average results (5 from 13 for 38% Success Rate and a weighting of +0.100

Antrim’s shooting
Antrim shooting (V Donegal)

Donegal’s shooting
Donegal shooting (V Antrim)
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
O MacNiallais (Donegal) 6 4 67% +1.232
C McFadden (Donegal) 5 1 20% -1.682
L McLoone (Donegal) 4 3 75% +1.166
D O’Connor (Donegal) 3 3 100% +1.759
C Toye (Donegal) 3 2 67% +0.783
D Molloy (Donegal) 3 2 67% +0.735
M Sweeney (Antrim) 2 2 100% +1.215
C Murray (Antrim) 2 1 50% +0.281
M Murphy (Donegal) 2 1 50% +0.142
P McCann (Antrim) 2 1 50% +0.124
P Cunningham (Antrim) 2 0 0% -0.776
R McHugh (Donegal) 2 0 0% -0.776
B Neeson (Antrim) 2 0 0% -0.776

Monaghan Vs Antrim

May 31, 2012
Team Possessions Shots Shot Rate Scores Success Rate Return Vs Expected
Monaghan 37 26 70% 13 50% +0.30
Antrim 30 20 67% 10 50% +1.22
avg 41.8 28.3 67.7% 14.1 49.8% 0.00

Watching this game I expected some atrocious returns. At one stage in the 1st half there was a c12 minute period where there wasn’t a shot taken let alone a score. Stevie McDonnell put it best when he said that “if we’re not careful a game of football will break out”.

A game of football did eventually break out and surprisingly the shot rate & success rates were as bang on average as you’ll find. The problem (mainly Antrim’s) was the actual volume of shots taken. An average game should have 57 shots – this one had 46. Antrim’s 30 shots were the lowest charted to date; if you’re going to have that few shots the success rate has to be way above average to compensate.

In the first half especially Bradley’s plan appeared to be an ultra conservative defensive shield with long shots (outside the 45m line) taken on sight. The purists will wail but I have no problem with the plan. The problem comes with implementing a plan that doesn’t suit your players. By shooting on sight you have to have excellent point takers as you are robbing your team of the ability to take easier shots inside. Also, and more importantly, you are depriving your team the chance of easy scores from frees inside.

Baker Bradley’s plan, whilst limited, is not wrong for the reasons the pundits will offer (“ultra defensive”, dare I say it “puke football”). It is wrong because he plainly doesn’t have the players to hit enough scores from the 45m line. Yes he’s limiting the opponent but he’s just not giving his team enough of a chance to win.

From play

Team Shots Scores Success Rate Vs Expected
Monaghan 17 9 53% +1.46
Antrim 16 8 50% +1.39
avg 21.1 9.3 44.0% 0.00

From deadballs

Team Shots Scores Success Rate Vs Expected
C McManus (Mon) 6 2 33% -1.10
K Hughes (Mon) 2 1 50% -0.52
P Cunningham (Ant) 3 2 67% +0.69
P Finlay (Mon) 1 1 100% +0.49
T McCann (Ant) 1 0 0% -0.86
game avgs 7.3 4.8 66.5% 0.00

Perhaps what coloured my expectations on the returns whilst watching the game was the poor free taking. Converting 6 out of 13 deadballs is verging on atrocious. Monaghan should be able to improve on this if Finlay returns and now that McManus has a game under his belt. If they don’t they won’t progress.

McCann missing one of the few easy frees Antrim did get kind of undermines my earlier arguement but I still contend that they do not have the shooters to operate the game plan Bradley lays out for them.

Players with >= 2 shots from play

Shots Scores Success Rate Vs Expected
P Cunningham (Ant) 5 2 40% -0.12
M McCann (Ant) 3 3 67% +0.95
O Lennon (Mon) 3 1 33% -0.20
D O’Connell (Mon) 3 1 33% -0.67
T Freeman (Mon) 2 2 100% +1.17
D Clerkin (Mon) 2 2 100% +1.11
J Loughrey (Ant) 2 1 50% -0.08
C Murray (Mon) 2 0 0% -0.64

Monaghan’s experienced players stood up when required with Freeman & Clerkin both popping over inspirational points. This is something that we cannot measure – momentum & the psychological benefit of your big men getting big scores.

A negative return on O’Connell seems harsh given that he scored a goal from the half back line however we mustn’t forget that his first shot was saved – he was fortunate in some ways that the ball broke to him for a second bite at the cherry.