Posts Tagged ‘Dublin’

O’Connor & Rock from frees (Rd3 of league)

March 3, 2017

From an analysis and review standpoint I am forever railing against recency bias. This “railing” comes about however because of its pervasiveness. It’s an in-built near automatic response. And of course I fell into the trap myself.

Watching the Mayo – Roscommon game last week Cillian O’Connor missed a central free about 33metres out and I had immediate flashbacks to (a) a number of missed frees in the previous round against Kerry and (b) that missed free in last year’s All Ireland final.

Was this latest missed free a sign of some cliff having been reached? Was one of Mayo’s most consistent weapons beginning to malfunction? Of course not.

oconnor-post-rd3

In the three league games to date O’Connor has hit 79% of his frees. Well above the ~72% Championship average. On Expt Pts his tally is -0.39; he has basically scored what is expected. Now the argument could be made that someone with O’Connor’s reputation should be in positive Expt Pts territory. Fine. However we must always remember that the Expt Pts tally is based off Championship returns. Frees taken in (mainly) pristine weather on (mainly) pristine surfaces. O’Connor is fine. To be slightly off in the middle of the league is acceptable? For comparison Dean Rock is running at 75% conversion rate with an Expt Pts tally of -0.86.

rock-post-rd3

What I did argue however in last year’s All Ireland review is that O’Connor had an arc outside of which he was vulnerable (the missed free in the drawn All Ireland being right on this arc). Given weather, pitch conditions etc. it is fair to expect that arc to contract at this time of year and if we placed this contracted arc over O’Connor’s frees to date then I would suggest that arguement is still relevant. He has taken 6 frees on the edges of this constricted arc and converted 3 – 50% Success Rate. He has also missed his only 45.

So in conclusion – bloody recency bias!! But O’Connor is generally fine and still remains one of the most consistent free takers once within his range.

Dublin v Mayo 2016 All Ireland Final Replay

October 5, 2016

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
Dublin 49 38 26 1 – 15 17.59
Mayo 48 36 25 1 – 14 15.62

Attack Rates, Shot Rates, Conversion Rates and points per possessions; all the main metrics were incredibly even – as to be expected in a one point game that lasted over 80 minutes – but was there anything in particular that got Dublin over the line?

Dublin shooting

Deadballs

Dublin, and thus Dean Rock, were spectacular on the day from deadballs converting 100% from eight attempts with an Expt Pts of +2.10. Connolly’s penalty was inch perfect but coming in to the year the conversion rate was 83% (24 goals from 29 shots) so the Expt Pts for a penalty is very high at 2.48. He is expected to convert that. The positive Expt Pts is almost entirely Rock’s.

He scored 0 – 07 on seven attempts with an Expt Pts of +1.58. This from the player who returned a Conversion Rate of 43% (0 – 03 from 7 shots & an Expt Pts of -1.58) in the drawn game. He was essentially removed from frees in last year’s final taking just two of the nine Dublin deadballs after converting just 40% (0 – 02 from five) in that year’s semi-final. That was a performance with an exclamation mark.

This, along with the performance against Kerry in this year’s semi-final (0 – 10 from 11 attempts & Expt Pts of +2.48), should banish any notion that he cannot deliver on the big day. More on Cillian O’Connor below but both himself and Rock are now clearly the best free takers in the country.

Goal chances

One of the more remarkable aspects of the final was the fact that Dublin did not manufacture a shot on goal from play. They did have a few breaks through the middle, such as McManamon being stripped by Harrison after the long kickout from Cluxton or Fitzsimons strolling through the centre at the death, but never got to pull the trigger.

This is the first game since 2012 that this has happened and credit is due to the collective Mayo defence. Especially how they learned the lessons from the first day with Fenton not being allowed drift in behind at any stage.

Point attempts

Dublin recorded a 44% Conversion Rate (0 – 08 from 18) and an Expt Pts tally of -1.69 when shooting from play. In and of itself this is poor but set against the returns from the drawn game (30% from 20 shots and an Expt Pts tally of -3.03) and how Mayo handled Tipperary and Tyrone (26% & -3.11 and 27% & -3.36) it was a step up.

In the drawn game it was highlighted how 50% of Dublin’s scores came from shots with no pressure applied whilst Mayo were able to apply intense pressure to 45% of their shots. Dublin only converted 22% (0 – 02 from 9 attempts) of those taken under this pressure.

Mayo managed to apply the same levels of intense pressure here (44%, 8 of 18 attempts) however Dublin’s shooting was better scoring on 50% (0 – 04) as opposed to the 22% in the drawn game. The level of pressure is illustrated b the fact that Mayo blocked three of those eigth but Dublin just squeezed more out.

That’s not to say that all their shooting was good or improved. I graded 8 shots where no pressure was applied with Dublin only scoring 0 – 03. Undoubtedly it is due to small sample size randomness but on the day those shooting under intense pressure performed better than those that had no pressure applied.

Mayo Shooting

Goal attempts

Mayo had one shot at goal and what a shot. A beautiful goal by Keegan.

A lot of ink was spent on the run up to the game on the battle between Connolly & Keegan and the impact/intensity of that battle can be viewed through the two point attempts they combined for. On Keegan’s point attempt in the 25th minute it is Connolly flying in to put him off. For Connolly’s point attempt in the 34th minute it is Keegan flying in to try – unsuccessfully – and put Connolly off.

keegan-goal-v-dublin

I bring the point attempts up above as when Keegan takes the shot at goal Connolly is not in the picture. When S O’Shea launches the ball into A O’Shea on the 45 Connolly (11) has Keegan (5) within arm’s length but doesn’t track him. By the time Keegan pulls the trigger it is Fitzsimons (22) who has put in an incredible shift from trying to block O’Shea’s kick pass to get back on Keegan’s heel.

Point attempts

Mayo converted 38% of their point attempts (0 – 05 from 13 shots) with an Expt Pts of -0.85.

Dublin managed to properly pressurise five of those 13 shots (38% – similar to Mayo’s 44% on Dublin’s shooting) which was a big step up from the Dublin defence. The last day they only managed to pressurise two, or 11%, of Mayo’s point attempts.

Mayo responded well to this pressure scoring 0 – 03 from the five shots taken under pressure. The problem came when they were placed under no, or minimal, pressure. Here they only scored 0 – 02 from 8 attempts (25% – in the draw game it was 0 – 09 from 16 attempts – 56%).As an illustration C O’Shea & Jason Doherty dropped shots into the goalkeeper’s hands from very central positions when under no pressure whilst Andy Moran pulled one wide from the left inside the 20m line.

They created the chances – the execution just wasn’t there.

Deadballs

Up until the final free kick Cillian O’Connor had been flawless converting 100% of his frees (0 – 09 from 9 attempts) with an Expt Pts of +1.34. This followed on from converting 100% of his frees (0 – 05 frees from 5 attempts) in the drawn game.

And then we had that final free. The average, from 2012 -2015, for the area of the pitch that the free was attempted from (sector6) was 64% on 650 attempts. For the same period I have O’Connor converting 75% from this sector (0 – 09 from 12 attempts). Unsurprisingly, given his overall returns, O’Connor has been – historically – above average from this range.

coc-deadballs-2016

His shot charts for frees in 2016 is above. Overall he was 77% with an Expt Pts of +1.28 and 67% in Sector 6. Below his historical averages but nothing untoward.

What is apparent from the above however is that there is an arc – in the same shape as the D but starting inside the two “x”s at the 20m line above – outside of which is accuracy becomes human! Every free taker has this arc. Basically his range. But in this instance the final free (marked in the above with a black “x”) is right on the O’Connor’s 2016 arc. He had two frees from a similar range against Galway and Westmeath converting one and missing the other.

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows the esteem I hold O’Connor’s deadball ability in. He is the best around (though Rock has now joined him). There is no one else I would want taking that free but it was no “gimme”. It was right on the edge of his 2016 comfort zone.

Kickouts

Mayo won 14 of their 20 kickouts. Of those six were taken by Clarke with Mayo gaining possession on all six whist the split was 8 – 6 in Mayo’s favour when Hennelly was in goal. On its own that looks very poor for Hennelly however of Clarke’s six kickouts we only saw where five landed and of those four (80%) went short. Dublin did not pressurise the recipient on any of these four. Clarke’s kickouts were very safe.

Of Hennelly’s 14 kickouts only six, or 43% ,went short. Hennelly, whether by choice, by design or due to the Dublin press went longer than Clarke and as such placed more in harm’s way. The flip side of this is that Mayo had a net score of four points on Hennelly’s 14 kickouts (scored 1-03 and let in 0-02 directly from the possession’s gained) whereas the net benefit of winning Clarke’s six short kickouts was 0 – 01

A lot has been written about the decision to start Hennelly, and the success of kickouts is as much to do with the outfield players as it is the goalkeeper, but Hennelly was, despite the commentary, coming out on top in terms of end product on the kickouts.

Again the commentary was that Cluxton had a superb game from kickouts. He undoubtedly had some absolute peaches in the second half when he pinged two straight to Flynn & McManamon in midfield but is our view of the overall performance coloured by these just after the Mayo keeper switch?

Mayo lost six out of 20, Dublin lost five out of 21. Better but by no means outstandingly so. By the time Hennelly had lost six Cluxton had lost four. Mayo had a net gain of four points. Dublin? Broke even. Scored 0-02 from the possessions they gained on their own kickout but also conceded 0 – 02 fro he five they lost.

Again a goalkeeper’s role is not all about kickouts. Nor is the goalkeeper the sole reason for a kickout ending to a score. I may be trying to push too positive a spin on Hennelly’s performance (forget trying – I am pushing!) *but* the very negative narrative – in comparison to the very positive one on Cluxton’s – around Hennelly’s kickouts just doesn’t ring entirely true.

Appendix

For a wrap up find the stats for the two games combined below

dublin-mayo-finals-2016-combined

How anyone can categorically state that this Mayo team is “gone”, or “cannot win” the big one is beyond me. There was the width of a cigarette paper between these teams. And Dublin are considered one of the greats.

Dublin’s shot chart
dublin-shooting-v-mayo-16-replay

Mayo’s shot chart
mayo-shooting-v-dublin-16-replay
x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half from play, white = 2nd half, red = goal attempt

Dublin v Mayo 2016 All Ireland Final

September 20, 2016

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
Dublin 57 46 31 2 – 09 17.30
Mayo 53 40 26 0 – 15 14.80

Dublin’s returns don’t look too bad – scoring 2 – 09 from an Expected return of 17.30. Those two goals however came from non shots (yes they created the chances but from an Expt Pts vantage they don’t count as they didn’t come from a Dublin shot on goal) meaning that Dublin’s actual shots returned more than 8 points below Expected and showed a Conversion Rate of 29%.

In their five games this year Dublin were showing a 61% Conversion Rate and a combined Expt Pts value of +11.21. In the 23 other Championship games since 2013 Dublin’s Conversion Rate has only dropped below 40% once – and that was a 39% against the ultra-defensive Westmeath in the 2015 Leinster final. The next lowest after that is 44%.

This was a spectacular derailing of the well-oiled machine. How did it happen?

Dublin’s shooting

Goal attempts

Dublin had three goal attempts in two different sequences (Brogan’s shot after Fenton’s original chance was saved as well as Fenton’s second attempt) which produced one goal – but the goal did not come from any of the three Dublin shots. As such the Expt Pts on the three shots was -3.42 (even though Dublin did get 3 points from the scramble – God the Expt Pts model really doesn’t like own goals!).

Note that for the second goal there was no actual goal shot – Rock spilled Connolly’s (wondrous) pass before Boyle put his foot through it.

Just on those two Fenton goal attempts – they were eerily similar with four different Mayo players committing the same basic “lack of communication” mistake.

dub-goal-chance-v-mayo-16-ai-final-actual-1st

In the first Mayo are basically set with S O’Shea (8) on Fenton (8). Fenton lays the ball off to the wrap around player and drifts towards goal however both O’Shea and Higgins (4) then go towards the player with the ball. Neither goes with Fenton.

dub-goal-chance1-v-mayo-16-ai-final

Same again for the second. This time replace McLoughlin (10) for O’Shea and Durcan (7) for Higgins. Fenton lays the ball off to the wraparound runner and continues to drift towards goal. Both Mayo players get sucked to the ball leaving Fenton acres of room in behind.

Deadballs

Unfortunately there is just no hiding from the fact that Rock had a bad day. He scored 0 – 03 from seven attempts for an Expt Pts tally of -1.57.

Much had been made of his 93% success rate this year coming in to the game (0-37 from 40 shots with an Expt pts of +7.98 from frees and 45s) however it must be remembered that he was also on 93% coming in to the 2015 semi-finals. From there on he only converted 0 – 02 from 5 attempts in the two 2015 games against Mayo and only attempted two of Dublin’s nine deadballs in the final against Kerry.

He is undoubtedly the real deal however there have to be concerns about his ability to maintain the averages at the end of the season. His excellent performance against Kerry had put some of these concerns to bed (0 -10 from 11 on frees & 45s with an Expt Pts tally of +2.48) but he’ll have to step up in the replay to silence them again

Then we have Connolly’s sideline attempt. Up until the start of this year’s Championship 18 point attempts from a sideline had been charted with a combined 28% Success Rate. Connolly is a better player than the majority, if not all, of those players who had taken those 18 attempts however (a) he is not the free taker and (b) those 18 were probably taken in better conditions and not in the 74th minute of a pulsating All Ireland final. It was a punt but he was always more likely to give the ball to Mayo having missed than having scored.

Point attempts

That leaves 20 point attempts throughout the game which saw Dublin convert 30% (0 – 06) with an Expt Pts tally of -3.03. Granted the conditions were not great but that is just very, very poor. And it was not confined to a handful of individuals having a day off – 12 separate Dublin players had a point attempt. There was just no sign of this.

In reviewing the SF against Tipperary we noted that the Mayo defence had restricted Tyrone to 27% and an Expt Pt return of -3.36 whilst holding the previously free scoring Tipperary to 26% and -3.11. We now add Dublin’s 30% and -3.03 to that tally. They are obviously doing something right. Against Tipperary & Tyrone they applied pressure to 66% of their point attempts when the norm is somewhere around the 51% mark. Again here they pressurised – to one extent or another – 75% of Dublin’s shots. But that doesn’t fully tell the story. In an attempt to somewhat measure what they were doing I graded all pressure on the shooter from 0 (no pressure applied) to 3 (intense pressure)

pressure-index

As can be seen Mayo were very good at applying intense pressure to 45% of Dublin’s point attempts. We don’t have any other comparison point for this but Dublin only applied a similar amount of pressure to 11% of Mayo’s shots.

It is no fluke that Dublin struggled – but it is strange that they struggled so much.

Note Colm Boyle shows up really well in this context. I have him charted as applying pressure to four separate shots with three of the being strong pressure (one “2” in the above table and two “3”s)

Mayo shooting

Goal attempts

Mayo had two clear cut goal attempts coming away with 0-01. The first fell very early to Durcan who had his shot blocked by Cooper. Hindsight is 20:20 and all that but looking at the position just as he was about to strike you would love to have seen him ship it left where they had an overlap with two of their best finishers standing on the square
mayo-goal-chance1-v-dub-16-ai-final
The second one was Moran’s attempt on the 52nd minute
mayo-goal-chance2-v-dub-16-ai-final
There was a split second where O’Connor was free on the square and when I put the still up on Twitter there was a split opinion on whether the ball needed to be fisted across. Personally the picture makes a fisted pass look a lot easier than real time did – it would have to have been spot on – and I would want Moran having the confidence to take that shot on.

Point attempts

Mayo were slightly above average with a Conversion Rate of 50% (0-09 from 18 shots) and an Expt Pts of +1.07.
Much like Dublin there was a large spread of shooters with ten different players having a shot. O’Connor & Vaughan showed well here scoring 0 – 02 from three attempts each but the overall spread means that no one really stood out.

Again like Dublin however there were some wild efforts in there – not sure either O’Shea should be taking pot shots outside the 45!

Deadballs

Immediately after the game concluded the thought had been that O’Connor’s deadball day had been spectacular. That however was more in comparison to Rock than anything else. O’Connor converted 86% (0 – 05 from 6 shots) with an Expt Pts was +0.41. A good day’s return on the numbers; nothing more.

However when looking at that stat line we need to take into account the context of the game. If Rock has question marks about him on the big day then O’Connor is the exact opposite – he thrives on it.

In eight All Ireland finals and semi-finals since 2013 O’Connor is 81% on frees and 45s (0 – 09 from 48 attempts) with an Expt Pts tally of +2.44. When everything is to play for O’Connor delivers well above average.

Kickouts

Dublin won 18 of their 22 but only managed 0-01, or 0.06 points per kickout won, from those 18 wins. In the 2016 Championship to date that was 0.51 points per kickout won. Another one to chalk down for the Mayo defence.

Another minor victory can be noted in the time it took Cluxton to get his kicks off. A lot had been made in the build up to the match as to how Cluxton looked to get his kickouts taken within six seconds. We didn’t see a number of the kickouts but when we did Cluxton was regularly taking over 15 seconds to kick the ball out (the first few were indicative; – stalled as had to be retaken, 15 second wait, 16 seconds, didn’t see on TV coverage, 12 seconds, 14 seconds, delayed for the black card, 20 seconds).

Mayo were, score wise, better racking up 0 – 04 on the 16 kickouts they won – 0.25 points per kickout – however they also coughed up 0 – 02 and nearly had a calamitous last few minutes when Clarke hit three poor kickouts in quick succession. The first was lofted to Parsons on the 45m line on the right wing allowing Mannion to break the ball to O’Gara forcing Barrett to give away a free that Rock pointed. On the resultant kickout Clarke managed to pick out Connolly short left who took one look and pointed. Clarke then placed Higgins under all sorts of trouble when he went short right.

Up until those three kickouts Mayo had taken 17 winning 14 – however when they went past the 45 they had lost three out of four. Given this, and the sequence above, it will be interesting to see if Dublin push up the next day putting Clarke under pressure and forcing him to go longer.

Appendix

Dublin’s shot chart
dublin-shooting-v-mayo-16

Mayo’s shot chart
mayo-shooting-v-dublin-16
x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half from play, white = 2nd half, red = goal attempt

Dublin v Kerry 2016 AI Semi Final

August 30, 2016

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
Dublin 56 42 35 0 – 22 19.14
Kerry 51 35 26 2 – 14 16.48

Normally we look at the game as a whole however this one ebbed and flowed to such an extent that it may be better to review how both teams did within the various segments that made up the game.

Kerry’s slow start
Colm Cooper and Donnchadh Walsh both missed close in chances early on – Cooper pulling an attempt on the spin whilst Walsh was off balance after a thunderous shoulder from Byrne – which put them in a hole both in terms of the match and their shooting returns (as both were from the zone immediately in front of goal Kerry’s Expt Pts were -1.50 by the 3rd minute!).

They then went ten minutes without another shot by which time Dublin had scored 0 – 04 from eight point attempts (shooting was average here with an Expt Pts of +0.26) whilst McMahon also missed Dublin’s only goal chance.

As an aside Kerry are only the second team since the start of the 2012 Championship to restrict Dublin to just one shot at goal in a game. The other, somewhat surprisingly, was Meath in this year’s Leinster Championship.

We then had a period of sublime accuracy as both teams combined for 0 – 11 from just 14 shots over a 16 minute spell (79% combined with an Expt Pts of +2.84). Kerry were the main contributors here scoring 0 – 06 from just the six shots (Expt Pts of +1.99) with Geaney hitting three from play. Dublin thus scored 0 – 05 from 8 shots and whilst they did not quite attain Kerry’s level of accuracy it was still above expected (Expt Pts +0.85).

So up until the goal Dublin were well on top in the shot count – 17 to Kerry’s 8 – but Kerry’s accuracy was keeping them within reach.

But it wasn’t just in terms of shots that Dublin were ahead. They had 28 possessions & 20 attacks (71% Attack Rate) to Kerry’s 20 possessions and just 9 attacks (45% Attack Rate). Kerry were being consumed. The extra possessions came from Dublin’s success on Kerry’s kickouts. Dublin had six kickouts prior to the first goal winning all six. Kerry had 14 kickouts but only managed to win seven with three of those going short. So when the Kerry kickout became contestable Dublin were 7 – 4 ahead. Dublin winning the opposition’s kickouts is not that much of a surprise any more however Kerry refused to help themselves here. There was no variation – all 11 were directed at either Moran or Maher and all went mid-range between the 20 and 45metre lines. Fenton, MacAuley & Kilkenny in particular had a field day.

And what of Kerry’s anaemic attack? Yes their forwards were (extremely) economic scoring 0-06 from nine attacks (Dublin were 0-09 from 20) but to only manufacture nine attacks? A lot of this can be attributed to the plan Kerry employed early with long balls being sent in to Colm Cooper & Donaghy. They were getting some success but not enough were sticking and Johnny Cooper can take a lot of the credit for this. He was immense in this period breaking five such balls away from both (two from Donaghy & three from Colm Cooper).

And then the goal
Of Dublin’s first six kickouts three went to the right and short with no pressure applied. Then the 7th went horribly awry. All of a sudden the tables turned. After only conjuring up nine attacks in 29 minutes Kerry manufactured seven in the last 8 minutes with six shots producing 2-02 (Expt Pts of +3.44). Dublin couldn’t get out of their own way losing four of their five kickouts in this period and only managing two possessions in ~8 minutes (one was lost inside Kerry’s 45 when McManamon was tackled and another when Kilkenny fisted the ball away in Kerry’s 65)

Dubs don’t panic
As the numbers from above show Dublin were absolutely rattled going in at half time. They had dominated the game for 30 minutes but had come undone under a deluge of Kerry counter punches.

What happened next says a lot about where this Dublin team are at. They came out in the second half and didn’t panic. They just continued on in the same vein that allowed them to dominate the first 30 minutes. Within 14 minutes of the restart they were back level.

Again the “volume” pressure began to tell. In those opening 14 minutes the shot count was 8 – 3 in Dublin’s favour. This time it was Dublin who were deadly accurate scoring 0 – 06 from those eight shots (Expt Pts +1.47). Dean Rock had a great game (0 -12 from 13 shots including two 45s and two from play) but he was particularly good in this period scoring 0 – 04 (including a 45 & one from play) as well as providing an assist for Fenton’s equaliser.

Kerry’s earlier efficiency failed them here with the only point they scored coming from a Cooper free whilst he also dropped one short off his left into Cluxton’s hands.

One thing that did change here was the possession pattern. For those opening 14 minutes Kerry were “only” 11-9 down in terms of possessions. The reason being that they started to change their kickouts to shorter ones. In that opening period Kerry had seven kickouts with four going short (Dublin did still win the “contestable ones 2-1). Dublin only had the two kickouts in this period winning both – interestingly neither went short!

Kerry mini revival
To all intents & purposes Kerry looked done. They had now played the guts of 50 minutes and had been comprehensively outplayed for 40. To their eternal credit they were far from done however.

Around the time of Fenton’s equaliser Kerry introduced BJ Keane, James O’Donoghue and Brian O’Beaglaoich within five minutes of each other. The freshness – or just their innate obdurateness – saw them wrestle control back manufacturing 0 – 03 from five shots in ten minutes whilst Dublin went into their shell somewhat managing just two wides (an ill-advised long range attempt from Byrne and Rock’s only miss of the game) from a relatively paltry five possessions.

Initially there were 20 possessions in the opening 14 minutes of the half but this slowed to 11 in the next 11 minutes. The game slowed right down and it suited Kerry.

The finale
And then we had the last 15 minutes within which Dublin were frankly superb. They had nine possessions in this period, excluding the final one after Kilkenny got thrown to the ground, progressing all nine inside Kerry’s 45 and getting eight shots off scoring 0 – 07. Under the most intense pressure, starting the period three points down, they produced an 89% Shot Rate and an 88% Conversion Rate with an Expt Pts of +2.17. Just outstanding.

Kerry had their opportunities. They too had nine possessions in this period progressing seven inside Dublin’s 45 however they only produced four shots (57% Conversion Rate) with only one of those coming inside the final ~12 minutes.

We will probably never know what led to such a diversion in those final 15 minutes – be it mental fortitude or the age profile of the teams finally catching up on Kerry – but what we can say is that this Dublin team answered every question about their resolve, ability and just fundamental skills in that final period.

Appendix

Dublin’s shooting
Dublin shooting (V Kerry 16)

Kerry’s shooting
Kerry shooting (V Dublin 16)
x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half from play, white = 2nd half, red = goal attempt

 

Players with >= 4 shots

Shots Scores Success Rate Exp Pts
D Rock (Dublin) 13 0 – 12 92% 8.27
C Cooper (Kerry) 8 0 – 05 63% 5.88
D Connolly (Dublin) 7 0 – 03 43% 2.93
P Geaney (Kerry) 5 1 – 04 100% 3.16
B Brogan (Dublin) 5 0 – 02 40% 2.61

Dublin v Donegal 2016 AI Quarter Final

August 11, 2016

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
Dublin 41 35 27 1 – 15 18.71
Donegal 42 28 24 1 – 10 11.99

Mannion’s late late goal would appear to give the Dublin shooting a boost that their shooting performance until that point did not warrant (they were running at an Expt Pts of -2.35 until the goal). In truth their shooting was average throughout with the two early missed Connolly goal chances putting them in a hole that only that late goal really bridged.

Dublin shooting

Rock was excellent on deadballs hitting five from five though his Expt Pts return for that is relatively low at +0.93. This is due, as can be seen from the shot chart below, to the fact that three of his frees were from the 14m line in front of goal. These are converted ~98% of the time.

From play their point taking was just below average with an Expt Pts of -0.56. Their conversion rate at 50% (0-10 from 20 shots) would not normally produce a negative Expt Pts however it occurs here due to the shot mix. Dublin were 71% (5 from 7; Expt Pts of +0.56) from central areas and 42% (5 from 12; Expt Pts -1.12) from wider out.

Essentially they were very good on the easier ones, bolstering the Conversion Rate, and poor on the harder ones. This poorer return from the more difficult shots was not due to any particularly pressurised Donegal defending. Four of the seven misses did not occur under any pressure.

This doesn’t appear to be something to get too worried about from a Dublin perspective however. In their two games covered to date (against Laois & Meath – the Westmeath game is on the “to do” list) they had a combined Conversion Rate of 53% (19 from 36) with an Expt Pts of +3.18 from these wider areas. The only caveat to those numbers is that Laois & Meath only pressurised ~31% of those kicks whilst Donegal got pressure on 50%.

Donegal shooting

Donegal were very good on deadballs converting 89% with the only miss being Murphy’s long range effort from beyond the 45 in the 3rd minute. Their Expt Pts for these nine shots comes in at +2.41 but this is somewhat bolstered by the last free. Usually a free is tapped over from that distance and a point gains you a miserly +0.02 on Expt Pts (see Rock’s Conversion Rate to Expt Pts return). Here Murphy got the point but went for goal. We have only 10 instances of a player going for goal from this distance and the majority get blocked. The fact that Murphy was going for goal means that the Expt Pts for that shot was a low +0.33. When the ball ricocheted over the crossbar he, and Donegal, gets a somewhat fortuitous +0.67 bump on Expt Pts.

Donegal scored 1-00 from their two goal chances returning +1.28.

So from deadballs and goal attempts Donegal were running at +3.69 which is in the 2014 “creating a shock” range. But then there is their shooting from play which in truth was both poor and meagre. Donegal returned 0 – 02 from 13 shots (Conversion Rate of 15% & an Expt Pts of -2.68). A lower expectancy is already built in to take account of the fact that Donegal were facing the best team in Ireland so the poor returns cannot be blamed on coming up against a good defence alone.

Donegal had six shots centrally from outside the 20m line and only returned 0 – 01. Dublin managed to pressure just one of those six so four of the remaining five were misses from the central region with no pressure. You just cannot do that – with a lower shot count – against a team like Dublin.

It is interesting to note that McBrearty didn’t get any shots from this central zone. After his heroics the last day he was restricted to four shots with all four coming from out wider.

Dublin’s Kickouts.

All this buries the lead. The most remarkable number from the game is 1-11. That is how much Dublin scored from their own kickout. They somehow managed to score 1 – 11 off 17 possessions gained in this manner and 0-04 from the remaining 24 possessions. That is a remarkable split

Against Meath and Laois they scored a combined 1- 15 from 38 possession on their own kickouts. This equates to 0.47 points per kickout won and 38% of their total score in those games. Here those figures were 0.82 points per possession and 78% of the total score. This game’s lop-sidedness does look like an outlier but that doesn’t make it any less impressive.

Dublin gained possession on 17 of their 21 kickouts (81%) with 13 of those possessions ending in a shot. That means in scoring 1 – 11 the conversion rate for shots emanating from their own kickouts was 92% (!!) with the conversion rate for all other shots being 29% (4 from 14).

Of those 13 shots the range of individual player possessions was 1 to 12 with the average being 6.1. So in essence from their own kickouts 6 players touched the ball (including the shooter) before they pulled the trigger. For the other 14 shots the average was 9.1.

Interesting as that gap is (and what it perhaps implies for the disparate conversion rates?) what’s more interesting is the volume of player possessions inside the 45. Again on the 13 shots from their own kickout there were 1.7 player possessions inside Donegal’s 45. On 8 of the 13 the only possession inside the 45 led to a shot. Again for the other 14 shots this was 2.9

So Dublin held on to the ball a lot less from their own kickouts and were devastatingly incisive once inside the 45 on these possessions. On turnovers, or the opposition’s kickout, where they got ball much higher up the pitch they were more controlled, more methodical. And much less accurate.

Appendix

Shot Charts

Dublin’s shooting

Dublin shooting (V Donegal 16)

Donegal’s shooting
Donegal shooting (V Dublin 16)
x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half from play, white = 2nd half, red = goal attempt

 

Players with >= 4 shots from play

Shots Scores Success Rate Exp Pts
M Murphy (Donegal) 8 0 – 06 75% 4.32
D Rock (Dublin) 6 0 – 05 83% 4.42
P McBrearty (Donegal) 6 0 – 03 50% 2.97
D Connolly (Dublin) 5 0 – 02 40% 4.39

Dublin v Kerry 2016 League Final

April 26, 2016

Over 70 minutes (or ~75 these days) that’s a paddlin’.

Team Possessions Attacks Shots Scores Exp Pts
Dublin 60 50 33 2 – 18 21.60
Kerry 47 27 19 0 – 13 9.10

With a full complement of players you are liable to mental and physical fatigue having ~10 less possessions going into the last ten minutes. You just cannot afford to go a man down against Dublin given the pace at which they play the game.

I’m not sure there’s any benefit to be had looking at the game as a whole. Dublin ran riot in the last ten minutes attempting seven shots and scoring 2-03. But the demarcation point was probably the red card ten minutes earlier in the 50th minute. At that stage the score was 0-13 to 0-11 and whilst Dublin were on top it was still competitive. To that end below are the numbers up until the red card.

Team Possessions Attacks Shots Scores Exp Pts
Dublin 40 32 22 0 – 13 12.17
Kerry 33 22 16 0 – 11 8.11

Dublin had more possessions and were finding it easier to get the ball inside Kerry’s 45 (83% Attack rate to Kerry’s very poor 57%). More possession and a higher attack rate will naturally lead to more shots. One crumb of comfort for Kerry is that once inside the 45 they were producing more shots (73% Shot rate to Dublin’s 69%).

One reason for this higher shot rate is the range that Kerry were shooting from. In the period up to the red card Dublin had 17 point attempts from play and all bar two were within ~30 metres of goal. Dublin were working the ball in close attempting higher percentage shots. Hence why on a 59% (13 scores from 22 shots)Success Rate they were only ~1pt above Expected.

Dublin shooting pre red card
Kerry shooting (V Dublin 16 league final) pre red

Kerry on the other hand were taking much harder shots but were converting them at a very high rate as evidenced by the Success Rate of 69% (11 from 16) and an ExpPts of +2.89. Reviewing the semi-final win over Roscommon I was interested to see whether the fast, accurate start Kerry had produced there, and against Cork, could be repeated. The accuracy was – they only missed two shots from play in the first half with one of them being Marc O’Sé’s attempt in the first minute. The speed however wasn’t. They need to be taking more shots, or get a goal, to keep up with Dublin.

Re goal attempts; Darran O’Sullivan’s left footed effort after 22 minutes was the only one Kerry have managed across the last two finals (here & the All Ireland final in September). Dublin had four in the All Ireland final and one up until the red card here. Granted they didn’t convert any but if/when they meet again the goal attempts cannot be 5 -1 in Dublin’s favour. They will eventually convert!

Brogan

Speaking of converting – Bernard Brogan had an ominously good day. Prior to 2015 his returns from play were well below what was required for a forward of his calibre (combined ExptPts of -4.78 over the three years) but with the burden of the free taking duties removed he exploded on the 2015 Championship with an ExpPts return of +14.26 across 38 shots.

Brogan 2015 shot chart
Brogan 2015 shooting

As his shot chart above shows he played much closer to goal in 2015. He did the same here scoring four points from his four shots and setting up both goals. Dublin are not short of options up front but they may not need to exercise them if Brogan maintains his 2015 form.

Kickouts
As ever with Dublin games the kickouts were a focus for a lot of the build-up. Kerry had some success here in the All Ireland final getting their hands on three of Cluxton’s ten short kickouts and the expectation was that they were going to do a similar “press” here. No such luck. Dublin dominated their own kickout winning 89% (16 of 18). More tellingly they managed to score 0-07 directly from those 16 possessions.

When discussing the kickouts pre game a lot of focus is on the Dublin kickout but little emphasis is placed on just how good they are on the opposition’s kickout. Here Kerry went past the 45m line (were forced to go past?) on 19 kickouts winning the possession battle 11-8. Despite this supremacy they only scored 0 – 02 from these possessions whilst Dublin managed to produce 0 – 04 from the 8 kickouts they won.

Dublin dominated their own kickouts with a net return of 0 – 06 (Kerry managed 0 – 01 from the two Dublin kickouts they won) and had a net return of 0 – 02 off Kerry’s contestable kickouts. That’s 0 – 08 to the good on kickouts alone without mentioning the goal.

Kickouts going askew are a natural hazard of using short routines. The idea is that over time you will gain more from the 95% successful short kickouts than you will lose from the 5% that go wrong. That is fine in a macro sense however over 70 minutes one going wrong can be devastating and with the frequency of short kickouts increasing we are seeing more and more erroneous ones being punished to the full. Donegal in the 2014 All Ireland final, Roscommon at the end of their first Division one game against Monaghan and now this. All punished by clinical forwards.

Kealy’s kickout wasn’t the first to go wrong. It won’t be the last.

Appendix

Shot Charts

Dublin’s shooting
Dublin shooting (V Kerry 16 league final)

Kerry’s shooting
Kerry shooting (V Dublin 16 league final)
x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = normal time from play, red = goal attempt

Dublin v Donegal 2016 League SF

April 12, 2016

There is no point pretending that this game was anything other than a run out. As Chris McNulty commented on Twitter (@chrismcnulty86 – a good follow on all things Donegal) Donegal took the game so seriously that they didn’t train all week. I have completely forgotten who, so apologies for not crediting, but some other wag commented that it was like an exhibition match at the opening of a new ground (see note1). It just had that feel to it.

Still. The two teams may not have engaged as if it were the height of Summer but we we’ll fire up the numbers and see what it throws up.

Team Possessions Attacks Shots Scores Exp Pts
Dublin 52 46 30 1 – 20 18.87
Donegal 46 38 27 0 – 13 16.08

In the opening league game between these two Dublin were restricted to a 76% attack rate and 21 shots. Here it was an 88% attack rate and 30 shots. Again in that opening game Dublin managed (or maybe more accurately the Donegal defense allowed) 0.29 points per possession. Here it was 0.44. There was just no bite to Donegal.

It was not like there was a huge difference in opportunities between the halves either. The goal at the start of the second half did not see Donegal switch off. Both, by some statistical quirk, had stat lines of 26 possessions with 23 attacks and 15 shots. Dublin were slightly more accurate in the first half with a conversion rate of 73% (0-11 from the 15 shots) though the second half conversion rate of 67% (1 – 09 from 15) was also very efficient.

Although they may not take much from the game one positive aspect, from a Dublin perspective, is that their early accuracy came despite the fact that two of their main strife force, Brogan & Mannion, combined for a mere two shots in the first half.

What of Donegal? It may come as some surprise to note that – in pure shooting terms – they were not all that far behind Dublin.

Dub - Don league SF Expt Pts

The above graph shows the team’s respective shooting broken down into actual score vs Expected score (see note2). Donegal, despite what was noted above re application, were on track with Dublin up until the ~33rd minute. Dublin tagged on 0 – 03 at the end of the first half and kicked off with a goal at the start of the 2nd but up until then Donegal were right with them.

The “but” quite obviously comes with caveats. The first being that whilst teams with average returns from the shots attempted would have been level around the 33rd minute Dublin are not average. Nor in their own ways are Mayo or Kerry. Dublin outperformed their Expt Pts from the get go (as an aside Kerry did something vaguely similar against Cork. That day they score 0 – 10 from their first 12 shots inside 20 minutes and were up and gone. It will be interesting to see the starts both teams make, or are allowed make, in the final. But I digress). On top of this Donegal lagged behind what was expected. One of the hallmarks of the 2012 & 2014 teams was their remarkable accuracy in games where the shot counts were very low. They will need to regain this accuracy.

A second point on the Donegal shooting was just how reliant they were on Murphy & McBrearty. Here they accounted for 70% of Donegal’s shots (Dublin’s top 3 marksmen in terms of Volume – Rock, Brogan & Kilkenny accounted for 52% combined). In the opening league game this duo accounted for a more realistic 45% of shots.

Part of this over reliance on Murphy & McBrearty was Donegal’s volume of shots from frees. In total they had 11 shots on goal from free kicks. Dublin had a mere four (plus one 45). Relying on frees as a way to keep the scoreboard ticking over is a tried and trusted manner but in many ways it is dicey proposition as gaining a free is not always within your control. You are reliant on the defender’s, and perhaps more importantly the referee’s, complicity.

Finally Dublin’s Expt Pts was boosted by creating goal chances. They had four shots at goal in total scoring 1 – 01 (about what is expected). Donegal only manufactured the one shot at goal and that a weak, in terms of where the shot was taken from, one from Murphy in the dying embers of the game that went straight at Cluxton. In fairness in the three other Donegal league games that I charted (Roscommon, Kerry & Dublin) they came out even in goal shots in all three so this game may not be emblematic.

So is there hope for Donegal? Absolutely. Over the two games they created as many shots as Dublin. In the first game, when they were not at full tilt but were at least more inclined to try than here, they were able to restrict Dublin’s shooting. But there are also some obvious dangers. They must ensure the shooting volumes are not as concentrated as in this game and also improve their accuracy from play (1-06 from 27 shots over the two Dublin games for a success rate of 26%). The control – in terms of game tempo and shot selection – needs to re-emerge. Goals need to be kept to a minimum. The restrictive game plan does not lend itself to chasing games.

Note1; if you have a twitter account it’s probably better to follow me there (@dontfoul). I tend to have game “scorecards”, like the below, up a lot quicker than the blog posts. Plus by having the game capsule up there I don’t feel the need to get every stat up here!

Dub%20-%20Don%20league%20SF%20Overview

Note2; I have a piece half written on Expected Points which I will publish prior to the Championship. In essence it is the same measurement as the weighting that has been used heretofore but (hopefully) is a lot more readily understood.

Appendix

Shot Charts

Dublin’s shooting
Dublin shooting (V Donegal 16 league SF)

Donegal’s shooting
Donegal shooting (V Dublin 16 league SF)
x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = normal time from play, red = goal attempt

Dublin’s 2015 Goal Attempts

November 18, 2015

Dublin have always gone for goal at a higher rate than other teams. Things were no different in 2015. They made up 13% of the competitors in the 26 games recorded but were responsible for 23% of all goal attempts. The attempts were not scattergun either as at a Conversion Rate of 53% (18 from 34) they maintained the average whilst attempting much more than anyone else. So is there anything we can learn by reviewing their 2015 attempts?

Origination

Where do Dublin’s goal attempts originate from?

19 came from possession gained on a kickout; nine from their own and ten on the opposition’s. 13 attempts came from turnover ball with the remaining two coming from Dublin shots that went astray – both from Brian Fenton incidentally (McManamon’s scramble against Mayo in the drawn game & Fenton’s cross shot – in the replay – that was guided in by Brogan).

What was noticeable just watching the goals back to back was the speed at which Dublin break. Of the thirteen turnovers that produced an attempt nine began inside their own 45. Add these to the nine from their own kickout and that is 53% (18 from 34) of their goal attempts starting from a position that the opposition should be in a position to defend.

But it’s the speed of transition that does for teams. The average for these 18 attempts, from gaining possession to taking a shot, is 20.3 seconds and 5.4 passes. We have nothing to compare this to but next time you are watching an intercounty side gain the ball inside the 45 count to 20 seconds (or 5 passes) and you will soon see how quick that is. And that is the average!

Dublin will not be that quick with every turnover, or kickout won, but the intent is always there. And when it is on they go. This is where McCaffrey’s transition speed, and Kilkenny’s accurate foot passing in the middle third, are hugely beneficial.

Speed of transition is further emphasised by the ten attempts generated off the opposition’s kickouts. Again they will not always be this quick but the first recipient has his head up looking for the forward ball. On the ten attempts the average time elapsed was 11.4 seconds incorporating 4.2 passes.

Results

Below are the outcomes of the 32 attempts from play; the original 34 included two penalties that were converted.

Goal attempts (2015) working
 

There are two things to the above. The first is the very nice cluster of goals Dublin had on the edge of the small square. The second is to note that this reflects a mixture of individual accuracy as well as team play. Of the 32 goal attempts five are fisted whilst another four are scrambles where the ball shot was instinctive rather than planned.

It says a lot about Dublin’s general attacking intent, and support play, that there are players in a position to fist the ball in or to be the first onto these scrambles. But if we are trying to decipher the Dublin players’ accuracy we need to remove these. Below is what the goal attempt chart looks like with these nine removed. A much reduced return of 35% on 23 shots.

Goal attempts (2015) no scrambles
 

The more I do this, and the more granular data we get our hands on, the more obvious it becomes that averages hide a lot. So any outcomes – whether it be weightings or Expected Points – used on the blog needs to be always challenged. In the last four years 36% of all goal shots were converted but what proportion of those attempts were fisted? Under pressure? Scrambles? Is 36% a fair representation of shot accuracy?

Post script – anything else on the Dublin shots?

• Thirteen different players had a shot at goal across the seven games
• It is hard to say from the camera angles how many were on target but only 1 of the 32 attempts from play went wide. Three were blocked, six saved, 1 hit the post, 4 went for a point whilst another was diverted in (the aforementioned Brogan toe poke on Fenton’s cross shot)
• Outside of the goal McMahon bundled into the net against Mayo he took two further shots. And scored a point with both – keep the ball down Philly
• Excluding fisted attempts & scrambles (the 23 attempts in the second chart above) only six (26%) were attempted under any form of defensive pressure

Dublin V Kerry 2015 All Ireland Final

September 23, 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

Overall

Team Possessions Attacks Attack % Shots Shot % Scores Success % Weighting
Dublin 58 42 72% 27 64% 12 44% -1.146
Kerry 58 33 57% 23 70% 9 39% -1.388
Avg 37.0 28.7 77.7% 14.7 51.2%

Generally poor accuracy (accepting the poor conditions) from both teams but in very different ways. Dublin had four goal chances but came up empty handed on all four occasions whilst they were just 50% (4 from 8) on their deadballs. Nearly all of Kerry’s shooting on the other hand was for points from play as they were unable to carve out a clear-cut goal chance whilst Dublin only allowed them three deadball attempts.

Although Dublin had more shots the makeup of those (more goal & deadball) attempts mean that when we run the shots taken through 20,000 simulations we see that Dublin win 90% of the time. The margin may have been small but the overall result was absolutely fair.

image

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success % Weighting
Dublin 18 8 44% +0.340
Kerry 20 8 40% -0.896
Avgs 21.4 9.7 45.3%

As has been the case all year Dublin’s point taking was excellent. They were 57% (8 from 14) with a weighting of +1.69. Put another way their shooting yielded about 1.5 points above what would be expected from an average team.

What was surprising was, as stated, they didn’t score a goal and it was their poor returns from the 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 them.

Kerry didn’t once manage to get a strike on goal but they did have a glorious opportunity towards the end when Killian Young fluffed a pass.

Kerry goal chance v Dublin

Dublin, and particularly Flynn & Connolly completely switched off allowing Young & Galvin to drift in behind after Donaghy won the throw in. What they were thinking – with Donaghy in a jump ball on the square and Kerry down by three points – we’ll never know. They *had* to get goal side in that scenario.

So all 20 of Kerry’s attempts from play were point attempts with their returns coming in below average. It wasn’t quite last year’s terrible shooting but they needed to do better with the opportunities they had. Between them Geaney, O’Donoghue & Darran O’Sullivan were 7 from 11 (64%) with a weighting of +1.746. The poor returns cannot be laid at their door. Instead it was the supporting cast who went 1 from 9 (11%) with a weighting of -2.642. Cooper didn’t manage one shot. Nor did Donaghy.

In the second half, when Kerry needed something – anything – the only players, outside the aforementioned trio, to even attempt a shot were Sheehan & Lyne. Two players & two shots.

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success % Weighting
S Cluxton (Dublin) 4 1 25% -0.617
D Rock (Dublin) 2 2 100% +0.577
B Brogan (Dublin) 2 1 50% -0.626
D Connolly (Dublin) 1 1 0% -0.820
B Sheehan (Kerry) 2 1 50% +0.002
J O’Donoghue (Kerry) 2 1 50% -0.494
team avgs 7.2 4.9 68.7%

A poor day all told with a combined return of 42% from 12 attempts and a weighting of -1.978. Part of that poor return can be explained by the shot charts below. Truth be told only four of those 12 were central with the other eight coming on the periphery. Yes on average we would expect three to be converted instead of just the one but the conditions were atrocious.

Cluxton landed that single strike from the periphery but it is hard to be too critical on his three misses given the difficulty of the remainder. Still he was one from seven (14%) over the past three games and, looking forward to the 2016 season, with Rock struggling on the longer range efforts towards the end of the campaign it is one very effective weapon that is misfiring for Dublin.

Dublin’s defending was superb. In the two semi-finals Mayo had a combined 17 shots from deadballs but here Dublin only gave up two frees inside the 45 with the second one coming in the last minute. Absolutely outstanding work from the team as a whole encapsulated by a quick sequence from Jonny Cooper. He leaves his man to meet an onrushing Walsh; bottles him up without fouling but when Geaney rounds O’Carroll from the subsequent melee Cooper gets back to dispossess him. Great tenacity & skill

Cooper defending v Kerry

A special mention for Bernard Brogan here. He hasn’t attempted a free all year and in a close game, played in those conditions, he steps up in the second half. It wasn’t as if he had gained momentum from his play earlier in the game as he had only attempted the one shot prior to taking on the free taking duties. He just had the innate confidence, and steel of will, to do it. Now his second free from wide on the left shows why he hadn’t been on the frees but that’s another day’s conversation!

Kickouts

Dublin’s kickouts Won % Turned into an attack % Shot %
Dublin 12 63% 7 58% 3 25%
Kerry 7 37% 6 86% 5 710%
Kerry’s kickouts Won % Turned into an attack % Shot %
Dublin 8 33% 6 75% 5 63%
Kerry 16 67% 9 56% 6 38%

Much focus prior to the game, and in the commentary during it, was placed on Dublin’s kickouts. However Dublin did as well on Kerry’s kickouts as Kerry did on theirs.

Kerry went short on 5 of their last 6 kickouts as (a) they sought to secure primary possession in an attempt to claw their way back into the game but also (b) due to intense Dublin pressure. Prior to those last five 17 of the 18 kickouts travelled past the 45 with Kerry winning the possession battle 9-8 however 6 of Dublin’s wins came in the second half (prior to Kerry switching to the short kickouts. Dublin were lording Kerry’s kickouts in that 3rd quarter.

Kerry did undoubtedly cause Cluxton all sorts of trouble on the kickouts but the efforts involved in shutting down Dublin’s options are encapsulated in the fact that Kerry won the first short kickout at the start of each half but thereafter Dublin, despite the Kerry pressure, got their hands on seven of the remaining eight short kickouts. Now winning 3 of 10 short kickouts is no mean feat – and is probably the highest forced by any team on Dublin – but it is taxing.

As the game went on James McCarthy became a favoured, and reliable, target. He was on the receiving end of four of the last six kickouts winning three – the one he lost was due to the ball going over the side-line so that loss would be harsh to place solely at his door!

When Dublin did go past the 45 they overcame the vaunted Kerry middle winning the possession battle 5 – 4. Paul Flynn was a huge factor in this. Four of those nine kickouts landed on him with Dublin winning three of those.

Turnovers

Team giving up the ball Pass In the Tackle Shot Other
Dublin 17 7 2 6
Kerry 17 11 2 6

Although the volume of misplaced passes was the same watching the game you got the sense that Kerry’s radar was just off. Of their 17 passes that went astray 10 were into players that were marked – essentially 50:50 balls on a wet, slippery day. All the defender needs to do is get his hand in. The main man here was Johnny Cooper. I have him tagged for six turnovers including five on James O’Donoghue.

But on many occasions the ball in itself wasn’t great. Yes Dublin’s man marking (and effective sweeping when Donaghy came on) was very efficient but the pass could have been better. Of those 10 contested passes nine were delivered by a player under no pressure. Kerry were just off as exemplified by two exchanges between O’Donoghue & Geaney early on.

JOD to Geaney;Dublin - Kerry

In the first instance above Geaney sees the space and directs O’Donoghue. His placement however is poor completely missing the space and instead looping the ball up with the outside of the foot for the Dublin back to attack.

Geaney to JOD;  Kerry-Dublin

Similarly in the above O’Donoghue is in space but the ball in from Geaney is short allowing the Dublin back to again attack. There were many examples throughout the game where better Kerry execution would have given the inside players a better chance.

Shot Charts

Dublin’s shooting
Dublin shooting (V Kerry Final 15)

Kerry’s shooting
Kerry shooting (V Dublin Final 15)
x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half from play, white = 2nd half from play,

Players with >= 3 shots from play

Shots Scores Success % Weighting
J O’Donoghue (Kerry) 5 3 60% +0.723
Darran O’Sullivan (Kerry) 3 2 67% +0.544
P Geaney (Kerry) 3 2 67% +0.479
P Flynn (Dublin) 3 2 67% +0.204
B Brogan (Dublin) 3 1 33% -0.184

All Ireland Preview – Kerry

September 17, 2015

In the first piece we looked at what Dublin have done with the ball this year and in turn what we can expect from them in the final. Now we turn to Kerry. One point to note is that unlike Dublin, where we have a fairly well set pattern of play, Kerry’s four televised games have been quite dispirit; the drawn Cork game was in a downpour, the quarter final against Kildare was a non-event and the semi-final was played against a defensive wall. Kerry’s numbers are, I believe, much more open to interpretation than Dublin’s.

Possessions & Attack Rate

Team Possessions Attacks Attack % Shots Shot % Scores Success % Weighting
v Tyrone 51 43 84% 31 72% 18 58% +1.71
v Kildare 60 43 72% 33 77% 23 70% +8.86
v Cork – replay 52 34 65% 24 71% 12 50% -0.17
v Cork 41 32 78% 26 81% 17 65% +4.05
Avg 51.0 38.0 75% 28.5 75% 17.5 61% +3.61

Kerry have averaged 51 possessions over their four games but that has swung wildly from 41 in the rain affected drawn game with Cork to 60 in the hammering of Kildare. It would be nice to have a wider sample size (or even a small stable one) but the volume of possessions is something that we only begun to chart this year. What Kerry have done is won the possession battle in each game – 1 (v Cork – drawn game), 3 (v Cork – replay), 11 (v Kildare) & 6 (v Tyrone).

Dublin have allowed an average of 49 possessions in their six games and have also managed not to lose the possession battle in any of them – 18 (v Longford), 2 (v Kildare), 16 (v Westmeath), 4 (v Fermanagh), 0 (v Mayo) & 5 (v Mayo – replay). Something will have to give.

The problem is that we don’t really have enough data points to make a concrete prediction but with an average of 51, and Dublin coughing up 49, the 50 to 51 range (Mayo achieved 51 possessions in the drawn game against Dublin) would appear to be in reach.

So how do Kerry give themselves the best opportunity to create possession superiority? My belief is that they cannot play a high intensity game as that is Dublin’s natural habitat and the looser the game the more shots Dublin’s forwards will get. Kerry will look to use their footballing abilities to reduce turnover volumes and stem Dublin’s possessions; the one boon that Kerry will have in this area is their ability to hold on to the ball and not give up turnovers. In the drawn Cork game Kerry went 25 minutes giving up just the one turnover; in the second half of last year’s final they only coughed up six turnovers – one of which was a shot.

So whilst the 50/51 possessions is achievable I think it will be more in the 47/48 range as Kerry look to control the game’s tempo.

Kerry have converted 75% of their possessions into an attack. Against Tyrone that return was 84% but that was against a team which withdrew into a defensive shield behind the 45. Their returns in the other three games were 78%, 65% and 72%.

Dublin allow the opposition to convert 79% of their possessions into an attack which is quite a bit higher than Kerry’s average – especially if we remove the Tyrone game. Assuming Kerry try to control the tempo by holding the ball, an Attack Rate close to 80% should be achievable. High yes but the Tyrone & Kildare games shows it is well within reach as do the Dublin returns and the expected “keep ball” mentality.

So we have Kerry tagged for 48 possessions and an 80% attack rate which equates to 38 attacks.

Shot Rate & Shot Conversion

Kerry have manufactured a shot on 75% of their attacks with Dublin allowing the opposition to get a shot 79% of the time. Again assuming Kerry play “keep ball” an argument could be made that Kerry’s shot rate will be closer to the 79% than the 75% as they constantly probe looking for an opening. We’ll plump for 78%.

So that gives us 30 shots (48 possessions * 80% Attack Rate * 78% Shot Rate) which isn’t out of line with previous games – 31 (v Tyrone) & 33 (v Kildare) – but is higher than they have averaged (28.5) this year. As a counter Kerry averaged 32.8 shots per game in their 2014 campaign.

Kerry’s shot ratio has been 67% point attempts, 21% deadball attempts & 12% goal attempts. Stretch that across 30 shots and you get 20 shots from play, 6 deadball attempts and 4 goal shots

Shot Type

Deadballs
Kerry have had a Success Rate of 67% (18 from 24) from deadballs with a combined weighting of +3.04. A 67% Success Rate is bang on average, and thus nothing to hang your hat on, but the weighting indicates that the frees they have converted were in fact quite difficult. Using an expected points model they have scored 0 – 03 more from deadballs than would be expected.

Unlike Dublin Kerry are well served here with O’Donoghue, P Geaney & Cooper all able to take close in frees, or deputise, for Sheehan whilst Moran can try some long range bombs if required.

Six deadball attempts fits in with Dublin’s pattern of play as well. To date their opposition has attempted 39 shots, 6.5 a game, from a free or a 45. This includes the drawn Mayo game where they were undoubtedly spooked by A O’Shea’s physicality and gave away eight scoreable frees (& a penalty) to a renowned free taker. I point this out because Dublin will be well aware of Kerry’s prowess with the deadball – as they were with O’Connor – but it may not matter if their undisciplined streak reappears.

Goal attempts
Using this year’s averages we are crediting Kerry with getting four shots at goal. To date they have averaged 3.5 per game however that average includes the Kildare game where they manufactured eight goal shots. In the two Cork games they created 4 & 2 goal chances respectively whilst they didn’t have a shot at goal in the semi-final. This might give rise for concern except that when we broaden the sample size, to include the 2014 season, we see that four is in fact their average over the last two seasons; in 2014 their attempts at goal were 4, 4, 3, 5 & 4.

Dublin have only allowed eight goal attempts all year which at 1.33 a game, is far removed from the four that we are expecting from Kerry. Undoubtedly the opposition’s set up has played into that low return – Westmeath & Longford didn’t have one attempt between them – but still; four could be a stretch

Point attempts
Overall Kerry’s point taking has been very good; a 55% Success Rate (42 from 76) with a combined weighting of +6.63. Unlike Dublin they do not have any stellar performers with different players stepping forward in different games; P Geaney in the semi-final & S O’Brien in the quarter final for example. The problem is the Jekyll & Hyde nature of their returns with poor shooting in the Cork replay, average returns against Tyrone and excellent to stellar performances in the drawn Cork game and the Kildare QF. We had something similar in last year’s final when, despite winning, Kerry were a paltry 17% (4 from 23) with a weighting of -5.603 when going for a point from play. Needless to say that cannot be repeated.

Conclusion

So pulling it all together. Kerry will score 0 – 05 from their six deadballs. At 83% that is much higher than their current rate but I expect the majority of Dublin’s fouls to be committed in closer to goal. As stated four goal shots will be a stretch. After writing a paragraph explaining why it *can* be four I am going to give Kerry three goal attempts with them converting the average of ~34%.

That leaves 21 point attempts. Although Kerry are currently running at a 55% Success Rate that can be clipped down to the ~52% range on account of the occasion and the fact that the 55% includes the non entity of a game against Kildare.

So there you have it. Kerry score 1 – 16 and we have a draw (Dublin’s predicted score is 2-13). What it show more than anything however is the very tight margins involved in this game where a percentage or two swing, in any number of categories, could be the difference.