Posts Tagged ‘Gaoth Dobhair’

Gaoth Dobhair v Scotstown 2018 Ulster Club final

December 4, 2018

In the normal course of events a review starts with a table summarising the game. That is to follow. For this game however there is a slight detour as we start out with a picture instead.

Darren Hughes had turned the ball over in the 61st minute when the game was all square. He was leading a counter attack down the right wing and receives the ball back from Heaphey who has just come on. Turning inside he sends a kick pass across the defence to Morgan who is in space (just out of frame). Instead of setting up the winning score the ball doesn’t rise off the pitch at all instead skidding away from what can only be described as a square metre of mud.

Quite obviously it is an important moment in the game but it also illustrates the conditions the game was played in. The pitch was heavy with quite a few mud patches. There were frequent bursts of quite torrential rain both before and during the game. The ball was greasy, the pitch a quagmire and the day a wet, dark, miserable Irish winter day.

This is in complete contrast to both the usual summer weather the averages for games are built upon and even the club games that have been covered on the blog this year. When reviewing the game this context must always be at the forefront.

Game Overview

The pitch took the speed out of the game.

The weather layered on top of this by forcing shots from closer in than is the norm; between the two teams there was maybe one shot from play that could be considered long range and that came in extra time (see the shot charts in the Appendix).

And to top it all off the teams were relatively conservatively set up. Add all three together and you get a grand total of 65 possessions in normal time. Compare that to the 87 in Gaoth Dobhair’s previous game with Crossmaglen or indeed the 97 possessions in the Kilmacud v Portlaoise game. The ball was hard won and it wasn’t easily given up.

Gaoth Dobhair had eight more possessions, eight more shots and a tally of just under 4.0 Expt Pts more than Scotstown in the opening 60 minutes. They lost just one of their own 13 kickouts whilst winning 75% (6 of 8) of Scotstown’s kickouts that travelled past the 45. By all known measures they really should have been out of sight … but to Scotstown’s immense credit it was Gaoth Dobhair who had to stage a comeback in the second half when they went three points down after 38 minutes.

So how can all these things (Gaoth Dobhair’s apparent dominance and Scotstown’s lead) be true? Shooting accuracy. In normal time Gaoth Dobhair returned a relatively poor 48% (0 – 11 from 23; Expt Pts of -1.62) whilst Scotstown, given the conditions, produced a quite remarkable 73% (0 – 11 from 15; Expt Pts of +2.19).

There was a trend apparent in normal time which was to prove crucial during extra time. As can be seen from the shot charts Scotstown’s shooting during normal time was from much further out than Gaoth Dobhair’s. “Much” might be a stretch but in the conditions every metre mattered.

Of Scotstown’s point attempts from play 80% (8 of 10) came from “outside” (as denoted by the dotted red line) whereas only 47% (9 of 19) of Gaoth Dobhair’s shooting was from “outside”.

When we get to extra time we see that Gath Dobhair scored 0 – 02 from their four attempts with the two points coming from right in front of goal whereas Scotstown missed their four attempts with none coming from close range. Gaoth Dobhair were able to get inside, as they had done all game, during extra time when everyone was exhausted, both mentally and physically, from the day, the pitch, the enormity of the occasion, whereas Scotstown were never able to break down the Gaoth Dobhair defence.

Details of both teams’ shooting and assists can be found below but once again it is worth highlighting Odhran Mac Niallais. He has produced excellent numbers for a putative midfielder. He topped the assists chart the last day with five primary assists against Crossmaglen and does so again here, in conjunction with M Ó Cearbhaill, on four. He also tops the shooting tables across the two games with eight point attempts combined (50% conversion; Expt Pts of +0.427). And just to top it off he is Gaoth Dobhair’s main free taker (taken 14 of 19 attempted across the three games covered).

Kickouts

Given the nature of the game what the teams did after winning the kickout is of less importance here than just winning the kickout. And Gaoth Dobhair controlled this section of the game winning 67% (12 of 18) of all kickouts that went past the 45 including 11 of 14 in normal time.

Their supremacy in this area fed in to Scotstown changing tack. Seven of Scotstown’s eleven kickouts went past the 45 with Gaoth Dobhair getting hold of six of those seven. Thereafter five of their next six went short

Appendix

Gaoth Dobhair shot chart

Yellow = deadball, black = from play in normal time, white = from play in extra time; X = missed, disc = score

Scotstown shot chart

Yellow = deadball, black = from play in normal time, white = from play in extra time; X = missed, disc = score

Gaoth Dobhair shooting table

Gaoth Dobhair assists

Scotstown shooting table

Scotstown assists

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Gaoth Dobhair v Crossmaglen Ulster Club SF 2018

November 20, 2018

Crossmaglen had one possession, and one shot, more than Gaoth Dobhair. The kickouts were almost the mirror image of each other with both winning 13 of their own and 8 of the opposition’s. Crossmaglen didn’t give up the ball outside Gaoth Dobhair’s 45. Yet despite the closeness of the main metrics the game petered out to a comfortable seven point win for Gaoth Dobhair.

Not for the first time we end up writing that goals win games.

Before we move on; a quick note on the relentless nature of the opening period in this game. Up until the 2nd goal at the end of the 12th minute there were 21 possessions. Convert that to a typical intercounty game (~76 minutes) and it put the game on pace for 120-125 possessions which is genuinely unheard of. The highest I have, in an intercounty Championship game, since 2015 is 116. And that start wasn’t a mistaken ridden turnover fest either. There were 17 shots in those 21 resulting in 14 kickouts which really should have slowed the game down. The game just opened up at a phenomenally (unsustainable) pace.

When Gaoth Dobhair had the ball

Gaoth Dobhair produced 0.53 points per possession which eclipsed their excellent 0.47 from when we last saw them in the county final against Naomh Conaill. The way they achieved it was very different however.

In the county final they relied on excellent accuracy on point attempts; 69% from play (0 – 09 from 13 & Expt Pts of +2.48) and 80% from deadballs (0 – 08 from 10 & Expt Pts -0.01). They didn’t produce a shot on goal. As can be seen from the shot chart above their radar was off on point taking (0 – 10 from 22 for 45% on all point attempts; Expt Pt of -1.59) however that didn’t matter – their running game pulled Crossmaglen apart producing 4-01 from just five shots at goal.

On the day that’s all that mattered. Going forward the positives they will undoubtedly take are the fact that they produced and finished goal chances, created very good point opportunities – in that there were no wild swings from the wings – and showed in the county final that they can convert. Goal chances. Good point attempts. High Conversion Rate. Put even two of those three together and they are a formidable attacking unit. All three and …

Dara Ó Baoill had a day of days. Undoubtedly the highlight was scoring 3 – 00 from his only three shots but he also plucked two Marks off Crossmaglen kickouts that led to two shots as well as providing the vital block to deflect McKenna’s goal chance early in the 2nd half.

Ó Baoill was ably supported by Mac Niallais & Ó Casaide up front as they combined for 1 – 05 from 8 shots from play (Expt Pts +3.12). This follows on from the 0 – 04 from 7 (Expt Pts +0.51) they produced in the county final.

Mac Niallais was also very busy around the park topping the assists chart with five.

When Crossmaglen had the ball

Nothing in the numbers will do justice to the way Crossmaglen play but you can see glimpses of what they look to do therein. Not once did they turn the ball over outside Gaoth Dobhair’s 45 which is very unusual. As a counterpoint Crossmaglen got their hands on nine turnovers outside their own 45. They managed to do this by judicial use of the kick pass through the lines before looking to move the ball inside.

On top of ball control their shooting was very good; 0 – 09 from 17 (Expt Pts +1.78) from play and 0 – 07 from 9 (Expt Pts +0.17) on deadballs. It was their lack of goal chances that hurt them. Just the two in total, both in the second half, with the second coming in the 61st minute when the game was done.

That’s not to say they did not threaten Gaoth Dobhair. Despite the gut punches of two early goals, followed by a third from the penalty spot and then another punch with the red card just after half time they were still standing after 40 minutes having reduced the deficit from 0 – 09 to 0 – 04. Aaron Kernan came through unmarked, just to the left of the D no more than 25m out, with what is a readily scoreable chance to reduce it further to 0 – 03 but instead dropped it into the goalkeeper’s hands. Gaoth Dobhair launched an attack and 30seconds later C Ó Casaide popped over a point after a fortuitous bounce placed a Crossmaglen interception in his lap. From a possible gap of 0 – 03 they were 0 – 05 behind 30seconds later via a lucky bounce and Crossmaglen never got as close again.

A quick note before we leave Crossmaglen. This is the 3rd club game that has been covered on the blog (aforementioned Donegal county final as well as the Roscommon County final) this year and in all three the losing team has had a man sent off just after half time. Now in all three cases the team were chasing (either on the scoreboard or in general play) but the cause was made immeasurably more difficult by being reduced to 14.

Kickouts

On the surface things were very even with both teams having the same returns; winning 13 of their own and 8 of the opposition’s. In terms of a contest however Crossmaglen came out on top winning possession 63% (15 – 9) of the time when the ball crossed the 45 and claiming five marks to Gaoth Dobhair’s three.

They were able, somewhat, to press this advantage producing three more shots and scoring 0-03 more than Gaoth Dobhair from these kickouts. It wasn’t enough however. Gaoth Dobhair were able to get half (11 of 21) of their kickouts away short and in doing so produced seven shot scoring 2 – 02.

Gaoth Dobhair v Naomh Conaill Donegal SFC Final 2018

October 23, 2018

In many ways the Donegal final was very similar to the Roscommon final from the previous weekend (review here). The losing team had a man sent off just after half time but the winning team was already imposing themselves (Clann na nGael were ahead through the main metrics if not the scoreboard). In both games the losing team had excellent shooting metrics up until the red card but then things fell apart thereafter (whether that’s due to the red card or scoreboard pressure is a moot point).

One other point that struck me when doing this game was the pace of it. There were a total of just 69 possessions throughout the game. The Roscommon final had 75. The average for Championship intercounty games over the last four years is 96. Now we need to be cognoscente of the fact that the intercounty game is 10 minutes longer and that our club sample is a grand total of two! But it is interesting nonetheless.

When Gaoth Dobhair had the ball

Generally when Gaoth Dobhair moved the ball they did so efficiently with a 78% Attack Rate and an 82% Shot Rate. (Comparing like with like Clann na nGael manufactured remarkably similar returns; a 79% Attack Rate and 82% Shot Rate).

What really stood to them however was their shooting. They produced a 74% Conversion Rate to return 0.47 points per possession. They are both very good numbers.

How this was produced is interesting. They didn’t manufacture a shot at goal and were reliant on deadballs to a large degree with 43% (10 of 23) of their shots coming from here. They converted 80% (0 – 08 from the 10) of these but that was more or less bang on average (Expt pts of -0.05) for where the frees were taken from.

I say “reliant” but that is over egging it a bit as their point taking was very good. They were 69% on 13 attempts scoring ~2.5pts more than expected (yes yes I know you can’t score half a point ….).

As can be seen from the below chart their shot selection was very good – or conservative depending on your point of view – with everything being within ~30metres and nothing wild from the wings.

Also noteworthy that all 13 shots came from just five players with no defensive player (or at least those with a defensive number on their back!) taking a shot.

When Naomh Conaill had the ball

Though only two points behind at the break Naomh Conaill were only chugging along in the first half. They managed to stay in the game through frees (0 – 04 from 4; Expt Pts +1.07) with their half being bookended by two points in the 1st and 32nd minute. That left 30 minutes in between where they recorded just the two attempts from play and didn’t score off either.

Gaoth Dobhair’s defence tightened up in the second half giving up just the one shot from a free meaning that, with 14 men, Naomh Conaill had to produce from play. And unfortunately they were unable to do so scoring 1 – 01 from 9 attempts with an Expt Pts of -2.47. Part of that negative Expt Pts was the two missed goal attempts from E O’Donnell and J O’Malley however they were also 0 – 01 from 6 on point attempts.

Kickouts

By the numbers the kickout battle was relatively even with Gaoth Dobhair coming out 19 – 17 on top. However Naomh Conaill were only able to keep on Gaoth Dobhair’s coat tails through their short ones. When the ball went past the 45 Gaoth Dobhair came out 17 – 11 on top and manufactured four more shots from those kickouts won (10 shots scoring 0 – 06 as against six shots scoring 0 – 01).