Posts Tagged ‘Kerry’

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.


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 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!


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.

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.


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

Kerry v Roscommon 2016 League SF

April 14, 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
Kerry 45 33 26 3 – 15 16.74
Roscommon 50 40 33 0 – 14 17.49

Although the 70 minute overview doesn’t read too badly for Roscommon this game was over by the 18th minute when they were attempting just their fifth shot. The gulf is probably better represented by the below comparison.

Kerry v Roscommon league SF Expt Pts

By the time of that fifth shot Kerry had scored 1-06 from their opening ten shots. Almost as impressive as that strike rate is how they killed the game instantly inside three minutes. Cooper bagged his goal with an excellent finish from the left of the small square. Kerry then went on to win the next three Roscommon kickouts scoring a point off each. Roscommon went in to the 12th minute 0-03 to 0-02 down and emerged in the 16th minute 1-06 to 0-02 down with their only possession of the ball being 3 goal kicks. Absolutely clinical.

Not all of Kerry’s league games were televised but this is not the first time we have seen them sprint out of the traps this year. Against Cork, by the 20th minute, they bagged 0-10 from their opening 12 shots killing that game off too. It will be interesting to see how they start against Dublin in the final.
Speaking of that final what may also be illuminating is the kickout battle. Michael Quirke had a good article in the Examiner during the week stating that Down, Donegal, Cork & Kerry won just five of Dublin’s kickouts combined. Now we can argue the merit of that stat (did those teams push up? How many were short & thus uncontested?) but the crux of the article is that Cluxton is a potent weapon for Dublin. I think on that we can all agree.

And yet in the All Ireland final Kerry managed to seriously pressure Cluxton winning three of their ten short kickouts (unheard of previously) whilst Mayo also managed to break down the kickout routine at the end of the drawn replay.

On the other hand Kerry might be worried about their own kickouts. In that final Dublin lorded it over them in the second half until that dominance forced Kerry to go short in the last quarter. Here Roscommon got their hands on 60% (12 of 20) of Kerry’s contestable kickouts. Granted that return was aided by Roscommon winning five of the last six Kerry kickouts. It could be argued that Kerry had switched off towards the end whilst Roscommon were still working trying to eek something from what was to that point an excellent league campaign (& still is). But even still prior to this the count was seven apiece on contestable kickouts.

What of Roscommon?

Roscommon shooting (V Kerry 16 league SF)
x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half point attempt from play, white = 2nd half point attempt from play, red = goal attempt

Their shooting was poor here. Not necessarily the shot selection but the execution with some very simple chances missed in the first half. Scoreboard pressure after Kerry’s early onslaught? Or something else?

Looking at the four (vs Monaghan, Donegal & Kerry twice) league games charted Roscommon attempted 102 shots scoring 2 – 56. This is against an Expected Return of ~63 points. That’s not a bad return at all when you consider the weather and pitch conditions (the Expt Pt is modelled on Championship games) and the fact that they were stepping up in regards the quality of opposition. It would appear from this distance that there is no glaring issue with their shooting.

Another element that stands out on the above chart is just how clean in front of the goal is. Kerry managed to stop Roscommon having any shots at goal. In the other three games Roscommon manufactured five shots at goal scoring 2-02. Not exactly prolific and perhaps one area they can take away to work on.

One final point to note on Roscommon is their short kickout routine. Short kickouts going astray is an occupational hazard for teams that employ the tactic but it was a short kickout that effectively cost them the game late on versus Monaghan and here again they found a Kerry man wiiiide open inside their own 45 on a short one (different keepers on both occasions). This doesn’t count the numerous instances that I visibly winced as a defender received the ball with the attackers bearing down on him.

Short kickouts are fine – and will go astray – but Roscommon seem to flirt with danger more than most.


Kerry shooting chart

Kerry shooting (V Roscommon 16 league SF)

Expected Wins; how teams fared versus their odds

January 11, 2016

Once September rolls around only one or two teams will deem their year as being successful. In 2015 Dublin had a year of years winning the league, Leinster and the All Ireland (do we throw in the O’Byrne cup?). Monaghan winning Ulster made for a successful season whilst there is an honourable mention for Fermanagh with promotion to Division2 and the quarter final appearance. But what about the rest?

If the league is a means to an end for the majority, and the All Ireland and Provincial championships are regularly shared by the same teams, how do we measure the remainder’s performance? Or indeed how do we judge a team like Tyrone that got relegated, fell short in Ulster but rallied to get to the All Ireland semi-final? One way is to compare a team’s results against how bookmaker’s thought they should fare.

Bookmakers give odds on all games. The main markets are match odds and handicap. Any bookmaker worth their salt will tell you that though all odds can be converted into a percentage chance of winning this is not their primary aim when setting the line. They are not trying to exactly predict the likelihood of an outcome but rather set a line that will encourage multi way action on the game. This then enables them to have relatively evenly split betting on all outcomes and they can take the built in margin.

Still these lines are a very good proxy for how a team is expected to perform and the cumulative odds can thus be used to extract just how many games a team won above, or below, what was expected. Thus we create an Expected Wins (Exp Wins) metric.

Expected Wins

All odds for a game were converted to an Exp Win (see methodology in Note2 below) and then teams ranked according to how many wins they obtained in the League & Championship above this mark

Exp Win Top10

It comes as no surprise that seven of the top ten teams in pure win percentage appear in the top ten based on Exp Wins. Fermanagh and Monaghan are up there given their aforementioned successful seasons. Longford also had a good year winning 9 of their 13 games. In fact on pure winning percentage they finished second in the country behind Dublin’s 75%.

But what of the remainder? The biggest surprise by far was Limerick. They only won three games in total, ranking them in the bottom third on pure wins alone, but were 7th when compared to their Exp Wins. How so?

Limerick breakdownv2

They were the outsider in all seven of their league games but won three. From those seven games the bookmakers expected them to win 1.87. They outperformed their expected wins by more than a full game. In the Championship they lost by two points away to Clare in a game that had Clare favoured by two and then walked into Tyrone in the first round of the back door. The positive Exp Win total they accumulated in the league was not too badly dented by these two losses – especially the Tyrone one where they were huge outsiders.

Sligo were a bit of a surprise given that they only won four games but again they were quite large underdogs when beating Roscommon in the Championship and complete outsiders in the next two games against Tyrone & Mayo. Given the very low combined Exp Wins from those three games (0.39) that one victory against Roscommon puts them in positive territory for the Championship alone.

Against the Spread

Another way of tracking a team’s performance is to see if they covered the bookmaker’s handicap; or what their ATS (against the spread) was in American parlance. We would expect some cross over with the best performers in the Expected Win list but crucially you don’t have to win a game to beat this performance metric – only play above an expected standard

ATS Top 10

Again six of the teams that appeared in the Exp Wins top ten re-appear. A number of the teams, such as Limerick, Sligo, Fermanagh & Monaghan we have touched upon previously but there are a few surprises. Mayo, despite being a very high profile team, would have been a profitable one to follow on the handicap. Cork, for all the negativity following the losses to Kerry & Kildare, were also profitable but it is London & Leitrim that jump out. Between them they won four games all season but it could be argued they had a pretty good year; their performance exceeded expectations in 12 of their combined 18 games.

London only won one of their nine games all year but managed to cover the handicap on six occasions. Narrow that further and they covered the handicap in five of their seven league games including all three that they played away. You would never state that London had a good season but from a performance perspective we should probably cut them some slack. They performed well above expectation.

Worst Performances

Exp Win Bottom5

Originally the above table was going to be the bottom five but I expanded it to catch two of the bigger fish.

Some of the lower lights – Carlow, Wicklow & Waterford – being down here is not really a surprise given just how few games they won. However it does indicate that perhaps the bookmakers were generally over rating them despite their poor form.

Laois were particularly poor but looking purely at their Championship form they beat Carlow when their Exp Win was 0.86 so get very little credit for that and then had a further three games failing to win any of them when the combined Exp Win was 1.75.

Given they were relegated from Division 1 with just the one win from seven it is perhaps no surprise to see Tyrone down here.

Kerry won seven games throughout the year but were expected to win eight. Creating a league/Championship split Kerry had an Expected win of -0.81 in the league and -0.19 in the Championship. Their Championship was slightly less underwhelming than their league (I kid – sort of!)

ATS Bottom 5

Three of those that appeared in the worst Exp Win table re-appear when we look at the worst performances against the handicap. Wicklow and Waterford not only failed to win enough games but also played poorly in their losses covering a combined four handicaps over 18 games. Given that they won seven games but were only an outsider once during the year – and that a slight outsider in the final against Dublin – it is no surprise that Kerry are again represented.

They had, all told, a good year but were consistently over valued by the bookmakers. Or conversely the bookmakers kept their odds short as the public’s perception of Kerry was that they were performing better than they actually were.


Note 1; there can be quite a difference in bookmaker’s odds. The odds used for this piece were taken primarily from Paddy Power rather than taking the best prices available across all bookmakers. The main reason for this was laziness on my part as it meant just one source rather than hopping around sites.

When you take the price can also be important. Lines do move. However they were generally taken on Saturday or Sunday morning when any early moves had been accounted for.

Note2; generally speaking the margin on GAA match odds is 109% with lesser games getting up to 112%. A typical line in a close game would be 10/11 (home team), 15/2 (draw) & 6/5 (away team) which equals a book of 109.6%. To make this, and all games, come in at 100% – and remove the bookmaker’s margin – I extracted 3% from each outcome. There is a valid argument that this should be more nuanced (take less off the draw perhaps) but for now it’s fine.

Exp Win Explanation

The home team has a 52.4% chance of winning on the odds. We know this is inflated to account for the bookmaker’s margin. Take 3% away from each of the three outcomes to account for this and the home team now has a 49.4% chance of winning. So using the above quoted odds we get an Exp win of 0.49 for the home team (priced at 10/11) and 0.42 for the away team (priced at 6/5).

Do this for all games for a particular team and you have created an Expected Wins metric.

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


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.


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!


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.


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

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.


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.

All Ireland Preview – Dublin

September 16, 2015

A preview by review. Looking at the games played thus far this year can we disseminate how often Dublin (and following on Kerry) will get on the ball and what they will do with it?

Possessions & Attack Rate

Team Possessions Attacks Attack % Shots Shot % Scores Success % Weighting
v Mayo – replay 50 39 78% 30 77% 18 60% +4.01
v Mayo 51 27 53% 24 89% 14 58% +3.06
v Fermanagh 59 48 81% 38 79% 25 66% +7.65
v Westmeath 65 52 80% 38 73% 15 39% -2.72
v Kildare 49 41 84% 36 88% 23 64% +6.08
v Longford 67 48 72% 39 81% 29 74% +10.30
Avg 56.8 42.5 75% 34.2 80% 20.7 60% +4.73

In their six games to date Dublin have averaged 57 possessions though they were restricted to 50 & 51 when they met a Grade A opponent in Mayo.

Kerry have allowed the opposition an average of 46 possessions (45, 49, 49 & 40) this year with the two largest volumes coming in games when they were well on top; the inference being that they dropped off the pace when those games were won. Given the fact that Mayo “restricted” Dublin to 50 & 51 possessions it is hard to see Dublin gaining more than 51 against a team that is offering up 46 on average.

As for attacks? Dublin have managed to create an attack from 75% of their possessions. This metric has been relatively stable – returns of 72%, 84%, 80%, 81%, 53% & 78% – with the one major aberration coming against Mayo in the drawn game.

It can be strongly argued that the 53% attack rate in the drawn semi-final was due mainly to Mayo’s tactic of falling off the short kickouts. Dublin did however adapt in the replay. After seeing Dublin overcome the “dropping off” tactic will Kerry push up? I think they will and whilst Dublin may lose some of their own kickouts as a result the trade-off will be an “easier” transition to attack for those they do win.

Over their four games Kerry have allowed the opposition to progress 70% of their possessions into an attack with the highest being 78% (both Tyrone and Kildare managed this).

Taking all that on board we’ll plump for 48 Dublin possessions – (we will explore why this will be lower against Kerry than it was against Mayo in the upcoming Kerry piece) and an attack rate of 77%. The 77% is above both the Dublin & Kerry averages but if we exclude the 53% in the first Mayo game – which appears to be an aberration – Dublin’s average is 79% whilst two lesser attacks in Kildare & Tyrone managed 78% against Kerry.

This gives us an expected 37 attacks

Shot Rate & Shot Conversion

Dublin have been very consistent at manufacturing a shot from their attacks. They have averaged an 80% Shot Rate over the six games with only the Westmeath game, when they faced an ultra-defensive setup, showing a return less than 77%. Kerry have been consistent themselves in what they have allowed – 81%, 71%, 74% & 71% – but they will not have met as slick an attacking setup as Dublin.

We will give a nod to Kerry’s defensive abilities by suggesting an attack rate below what Dublin have averaged thus far however given Dublin’s consistency we can’t go too low. I would predict a Shot Rate in the region of 77%. From the 37 attacks predicted above that would be 28 shots in total (48 possessions * 77% Attack Rate * 77% Shot Rate)

28 may seem on the high side given that Kerry have allowed 25, 28, 20 & 22 in their four games broadcasted this year however in the 2013 game between these two teams Dublin managed 32 shots and their returns from the past two seasons prior to the Mayo games were 42, 45, 48, 43, 38, 39, 36, 38 & 38

28 is very conservative.

Shot Type

There are three main shot categories; deadballs, attempts at goal and attempts for points.


The average number of deadball attempts per game over the past three seasons is 7; Dublin are running at four a game this year – 4, 4, 5, 3, 5 & 4. Up until the two semi-finals Dean Rock was superb converting 93% (13 from 14) however in the two Mayo games both he and Dublin hit a wall.

In those two games Dublin were 33% (3 from 9) with a combined weighting of -2.019. Rock missed his only attempt in the drawn game and also missed two longer range ones in the replay. Cluxton missed three in the drawn game. This has to be Galvin’s biggest decision. Were Cluxton’s three misses a blip or symptomatic of why Rock was given the free taking duties all year? Given that Rock only managed one shot from play in the 90 minutes he was on the pitch against Mayo can he be “carried” if his deadball accuracy is off? Is his efficiency over Cluxton, Connolly or Brogan really that important – in the context of a 70 minute game – if you are only going to manufacture 4/5 shots?

Goal attempts

Dublin live and breathe goals but they have been a lot more selective when going for them this year. In 2013 & 2014 27% of all of Dublin’s shots from play were a goal attempt. 27%!!! They were averaging 6.6 attempts a game. This year those numbers are 17% and 5.0 attempts a game however what they have done is improved their efficiency no end. The average Success Rate on goal attempts is ~34%. Dublin have converted 60% of their goal attempts this year. Throw in those attempts that they got a point from and they have gotten a score from 73% (18 – 04 from 30 attempts).
Whilst they have been less gung-ho in their attempts they have more than compensated for this with their clinical finishing.

Point attempts

Dublin forwards

Dublin’s combined stat line when going for a point in this year’s Championship is a 57% Success Rate (0-86 from 150 attempts) with a combined weighting of +19.2. Or put another way the shots Dublin have attempted would have yielded 0 – 67 for an average team – their shooting has been sublime.

Bernard Brogan has been the chief architect however seven of the eight main forwards are returning positive returns with the exception being Paul Flynn. Much comment has been passed on Flynn’s form this year but his shooting, outside everything else, is definitely off. In ’13 & ’14 combined he was 62% (18 from 29) with a weighting of +5.74.

Part of the counter argument against reading too much into Dublin’s accuracy is that they meet no one in Leinster and as such their numbers are inflated by non-competitive games. This has some validity to it however the returns for the two Mayo games show a Success Rate of 59% (23 from 39) with a combined weighting of +6.66. They were as good against Mayo as they had been in the four games leading up to that.

So going on previous outings the split of the 28 shots will be 4 deadballs, 5 goal shots and 19 point attempts. Dublin will convert 52% of their point attempts and 40% of the goal chances – below their averages to date as a nod to Kerry’s defensive abilities – and convert three of their four deadballs leaving us with a final score of 2-13.

Kerry V Tyrone 2015 All Ireland SF

August 24, 2015

For those new to the blog, or who haven’t been here for a while, please find a refresher on the definitions and how the numbers are compiled here


Team Possessions Attacks Attack % Shots Shot % Scores Success % Weighting
Kerry 51 43 84% 31 72% 18 58% +1.711
Tyrone 45 35 78% 25 71% 12 48% +0.734
Avg 37.0 28.7 77.7% 14.7 51.2%

In a nutshell Kerry were able to manufacture more shots and convert their shots into a score at a higher rate.
Kerry’s Shot Rate at 72% is lower than the average but it was on course to be quite problematic in the first half.

With Donaghy on the pitch Kerry engineered 14 shots from 24 attacks for a 58% Shot Rate; in the second half, with Geaney in, that rose to 89% (17 shots from 19 attacks). Whilst that dramatic rise cannot all be laid at Donaghy’s feet the impetus to kick it in long, to a packed defence, was removed when he was taken out of the equation.

Within Tyrone’s lower Success Rate there are three separate components – deadballs, goal shots and attempts for a point.

Tyrone had five attempts at a goal scoring 1 – 01 – or a 40% Success Rate. On deadballs they were 43% – both of which dragged down the attempts at a point which was an excellent 57%.

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success % Weighting
Kerry 24 12 50% +0.661
Tyrone 18 9 50% +1.610
Avgs 21.4 9.7 45.3%

Kerry did not manufacture a shot at goal but that won’t unduly worry them. They can play a multitude of styles and are usually very good at finding the right one.

Their point taking was average here but that is a boon when compared to the All Ireland final when they last met a hugely defensive team in the Championship – that day they were 17% (!!) on point attempts.

Considering O’Donoghue was out of sorts from play (0 from 3), and Cooper was more or less tied up (1 shot all game), it will be heartening to the management that at various times during the game the “second” tier stood up; Buckley was 3 from 3 in the first 10 minutes, O’Brien then convert 2 from 3 in the next 15 minutes – finally Geaney came off the bench to attempt four shots.

Pity the Tyrone defence. You keep Cooper, Donaghy & O’Donoghue to 0 – 02 from a mere six attempts over 175 minutes … and still let in 0 – 12 from play.

When we exclude the four goal chances we can see that Tyrone’s point taking conversion rate was excellent at 57% (0 – 08 from 14 attempts) with a weighting of +2.336. It is not that they failed to take their chances; they failed to take their goal chances.

Why two of those goal chances were not taken is reviewed in more detail below but all four came from straight, hard running down the middle. If you turn over Kerry (admittedly not always an easy thing) in the middle 3rd your first thought should be a direct run at goal. O’Connor’s goal in the drawn Munster Final was also the result of direct running.


Marc O’Sé is credited with a wonderful block on McAlliskey to stop the first goal attempt. Without doubt it was executed perfectly but he should never have been allowed to get into that position. In the top picture Harte has the cover beaten – he needs to drive straight and commit O’Sé before shooting or offloading. Instead he shows pass all the way staring down McAlliskey and holding the ball in a striking action – queues that allow O’Sé to drift back. When a pass is finally given it is high & loopy allowing O’Sé further time.


For the second goal attempt it is almost a role reversal. McAlliskey does everything right up until the final act; he drives towards goal committing the last defender and burning his trailing marker. In this instance he needs to give the ball to McCurry for an easy fisted goal (think Flynn across to the back post for Brogan). Instead he shoots.

Fine margins for sure but when you are the underdog these are the moments on which results turn.

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success % Weighting
J O’Donoghue (Kerry) 5 4 80% +0.823
C Cooper (Kerry) 1 1 100% +0.163
P Geaney (Kerry) 1 1 100% +0.064
D McCurry (Tyrone) 4 1 25% -1.315
N Morgan (Tyrone) 2 1 50% +0.257
P Harte (Tyrone) 1 1 100% +0.182
team avgs 7.2 4.9 68.7%

Perhaps the best way of summarising Kerry’s deadball outing is that Sheehan was not missed. They converted 86% (6 from 7) of their attempts for a combined weighting of +1.05. Geaney & Cooper popped over relatively easy frees so the majority of the weighting can be attributed to O’Donoghue. He converted one in close to goal but other than that he was 3 from 4 from around the 45 – equivalent to 0.5pts above expected.

Looking forward to the final it will be interesting to see what Kerry do were Sheehan to be on the bench and the long range frees come from the other side – O’Donoghue’s right. Moran & Buckley both attempted long range efforts in 2014 – would they be given the ball? Buckley’s 3rd point was a free on the 45 which was taken quickly; Tyrone should have been alert to this possibility of a quick one (with no Sheehan) but is it a precursor?

Morgan hit one stunner from the sideline then missed one from c50m – the kind of inconsistency you expect from multiple long range efforts – whilst Harte’s penalty was converted with aplomb.

McCurry had a hard day at the office but much of that was due to Kerry’s excellent defence. Only one of his four attempts was given within a comfortable scoring range – the three McCurry missed were out to the side or long range. Yes he should have converted one, if not two, but he never got his eye in on a simple chance due to Kerry’s defensive discipline.


Kerry’s kickouts Won % Turned into an attack % Shot %
Kerry 16 76% 11 69% 6 38%
Tyrone 5 24% 4 80% 3 60%
Tyrone’s kickouts Won % Turned into an attack % Shot %
Kerry 8 31% 8 100% 5 63%
Tyrone 18 69% 14 78% 10 56%

Where to start. Firstly much has been made of the short kickout as a strategy. As a strategy it is fine – see results from 2013 – however it needs to be executed properly. A lot of the issues for Tyrone on the short kickouts was poor execution (both from the goalkeeper and those looking to receive the ball).

Tyrone lost three of their short kickouts whilst another three that went past the 45 were also lost (two went straight to a Kerry shirt). From those 6 kickouts Kerry scored 0 – 02 whilst Tyrone scored 0 – 04 from the 12 they won inside the 65. Not ideal by any means – but not disastrous either. You get the sense that the difficulties were more mental – a key area wasn’t functioning so the panic alarms started to sound.

Of course what does not help the argument for “going short was a sound strategy” is that when Tyrone went long they won the battle 6 – 2. We have no way of knowing what Kerry would have done if all kickouts went long – they destroyed Kildare in the first half of that game on long kickouts – but there is definitely an argument that Tyrone should have gone longer more often irrespective of how they were doing on the short ones.

Kerry? They went short on 9 kickouts, scoring 0 – 02, with no real pressure applied by Tyrone. When the ball went past the 45 Tyrone were competitive with Kerry winning the possession battle 7 – 5.


Team giving up the ball Pass In the Tackle Shot Other
Kerry 8 11 3
Tyrone 8 5 3 8

As expected Tyrone were very good in the tackle turning over a Kerry player on 11 occasions however difference in natural skill sets is evident in the “other” category. On a wet, dirty, day Tyrone turned the ball over through either mishandling, or fouling, the ball on 8 separate occasions. Kerry didn’t turn it over in this method once.

Shot Charts

Kerry’s shooting
Kerry shooting (V Tyrone 15 SF)

Tyrone’s shooting
Tyrone shooting (V Kerry 15 SF)
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
D McCurry (Tyrone) 4 2 50% +0.435
C McAlliskey (Tyrone) 4 2 50% +0.157
P Geaney (Kerry) 4 2 50% -0.053
J Buckley (Kerry) 3 3 100% +1.417
M Bradley (Tyrone) 3 2 67% +0.968
S O’Brien (Kerry) 3 2 67% +0.794
D Walsh (Kerry) 3 1 33% -0.370
J O’Donoghue (Kerry) 3 0 0% -1.583

Kerry V Kildare 2015 All Ireland QF

August 5, 2015

For those new to the blog, or who haven’t been here for a while, please find a refresher on the definitions and how the numbers are compiled here


Team Possessions Attacks Attack % Shots Shot % Scores Success % Weighting
Kerry 60 43 72% 33 77% 23 70% +8.861
Kildare 49 38 78% 28 74% 10 36% -2.600
Avg 37.0 28.7 77.7% 14.7 51.2%

Sometimes one stat is enough to sum up a game. Kerry had 8 attempts on goal scoring 7-00.

Earlier in the year Dublin had 8 shots on goal against Kildare, including a penalty, and scored 5-01. The data doesn’t include 2015 games but from 2012 to 2014 one third of goal attempts are converted … you allow 8 goal shots a game, with the opposition converting 75% and you’re sunk.

All 8 of Kerry’s goal attempts came in the second half but the foundation for those goals was laid in a dominant first half.

1st Half stats

Team Possessions Attacks Attack % Shots Shot % Scores Success % Weighting
Kerry 30 21 70% 16 76% 10 63% +3.349
Kildare 24 17 71% 11 65% 3 27% -2.161

Kerry had 5 more shots and 6 more possessions than Kildare but even more impressively they started out by converting 9 of their first 11 attempts. That 82% Conversion Rate is comparable to Dublin’s early blitz of Fermanagh.

The three games that Kerry have played (on TV) to date have been completely different

Kerry pts per possession

The first Cork – Kerry game was a tight, high quality affair. The replay was poorer fair as both teams wasted quite a lot of possession – accepting that the weather had an impact. The third was never a game as Kerry powered ahead whilst Kildare struggled to turn their possession in to scores.

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success % Weighting
Kerry 30 21 70% +8.354
Kildare 25 9 36% -1.686
Avgs 21.4 9.7 45.3%

I haven’t updated the “charts” for 2015 but that Stephen O’Brien performance tops anything from 2012 -2014 in terms of accuracy. 1-04 from 5 shots with only one of the four point attempts coming from a central zone.

It was a very intelligent performance from O’Brien (and selection from Kerry who dropped Buckley). Nominally Kevin Murnaghan was his marker but Murnaghan was playing a sweeping role. By keeping O’Brien in the attacking half he was able to find pockets of space as the Kildare players “lost” him when tracking back. In an attempt to push on in the second half Kildare appeared to go man on man; once identified Kerry brought on O’Sullivan and Kerry ran through Kildare.

O’Donoghue and his replacement BJ Keane hit 6 from 6; the aforementioned O’Sullivan hit 3 from 4 (his only miss being the skied shot that he ran in after and ended up scoring his hat trick goal with – talk about hungry!) whilst Cooper converted 4 out of 5. Not a lot of waste there!

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success % Weighting
C Cooper (Kerry) 1 1 100% +0.397
J O’Donoghue (Kerry) 1 1 100% +0.397
B Sheehan (Kerry) 1 0 0% -0.269
E O’Flaherty (Kildare) 2 1 50% -0.440
M Donnellan (Kildare) 1 0 0% -0.474
team avgs 7.2 4.9 68.7%

A very quiet day on the deadball front – more indicative of Kerry’s dominance than anything else. When the game was a “game” in the first half Kerry only gave away one free within their 45 which I guess is something they can point to


Kerry’s kickouts Won % Turned into an attack % Shot %
Kerry 19 86% 12 63% 9 47%
Kildare 3 14% 3 100% 2 67%
Kildare’s kickouts Won % Turned into an attack % Shot %
Kerry 10 34% 7 70% 5 50%
Kildare 19 66% 15 79% 13 68%

Kerry dominated their own kickouts losing just the three. Four of their 19 wins came on short kickouts meaning that they won the battle on their own “contestable” kickouts 15-3. Not only was it a solid platform but it must have sucked the life out of Kildare seeing the engine room, that functioned so well against Cork, getting dominated in this manner.

Kildare appear to have managed their own kickouts well but seven of their wins came on short kickouts in the 2nd half when the game was over. In the first half they won 9 of their 16 kickouts however the seven they lost were all grouped around a pivotal stage when Kerry were building their lead. The sequence for Kildare’s kickouts, after they won the first two, was Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kildare, Kerry, Kildare, Kerry.

It was thereafter that Kildare moved to short kickouts but the damage had been done


Team giving up the ball Pass In the Tackle Shot Other
Kerry 19 6 1 2
Fermanagh 12 6 8 2

Kind of remarkable that the turnover stats were so even but 6 of the last 8 turnovers were Kerry’s when the game was played at a pedestrian pace. Their pedigree in holding on to the ball is well established at this stage

Players with >= 3 shots from play

Shots Scores Success % Weighting
S O’Brien (Kerry) 5 5 100% +3.048
C Cooper (Kerry) 5 4 80% +1.819
A Smith (Kildare) 5 2 40% -0.126
P Cribbin (Kildare) 5 0 0% -2.052
BJ Keane (Kerry) 4 4 100% +1.989
D O’Sullivan (Kerry) 4 3 75% +1.240
P O’Neill (Kildare) 4 2 50% +0.107
N Kelly (Kildare) 3 2 67% +0.692

Cork V Kerry 2015 Munster Championship

July 6, 2015

For those new to the blog, or who haven’t been here for a while, please find a refresher on the definitions and how the numbers are compiled here


Team Possessions Attacks Attack % Shots Shot % Scores Success % Weighting
Kerry 41 32 78% 26 81% 17 65% +4.051
Cork 40 27 68% 22 81% 15 68% 3.725
Avg 37.0 28.7 77.7% 14.7 51.2%

They are some very impressive numbers – where to start?

In the preview I stated that the 2014 mauling Kerry inflicted was on the back of a trend that saw Cork’s attack differential go from +4 in 2012 to -7 in 2013 & finally -16 in 2014. Cork didn’t quite get back on par here but what they did do was break even in the possession stakes. Again the last three years showed that they had the forwards to finish – they just needed the ball.

The qualities of the Cork forwards were evident in their first two goals.

Mark O’Sé had gotten the better of C O’Neill in the early exchanges but the tables were turned for the first goal. Below are some images clipped just before the goal where O’Neill drifts out to the right and then digs hard to get in behind O’Sé – wonderful movement.

Kerry Cork O'Neill goal

The second goal had wonderful movement of a different stripe. Fitzgerald has O’Connor bang to rights on the wing but O’Connor drives past him and then fights, ignoring the jersey tug, to get in front. After that lung busting battle h then has the presence of mind to deftly lob Kealy with the fisted goal.

Kerry Cork O'Connor

From a Kerry perspective both instances show up a defence that leaked quite a few goals during the league – neither defender was able to hold the attacker in one on ones that seemed, initially, well marshalled.

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success % Weighting
Kerry 18 12 67% +3.926
Cork 15 9 60% +2.845
Avgs 21.4 9.7 45.3%

What of the Kerry forwards? The big difference between how both teams amassed the high weightings was the number of players involved. Cork only had six players contributing to their 15 shots. Kerry on the other hand had 12 players taking a shot with none of them attempting more than two. Seven players attempted just the one shot – with five converting. That is some spread of accuracy.

O’Donoghue continues on his merry way. In four games across four years against Cork he has converted a truly remarkable 94% (15 from 16) of point attempts. He absolutely loves playing Cork.

The Gooch? He only had the one attempt from the left of the D which he converted – after receiving a peach of a pass in space and into the bread basket – from M O Sé. Perhaps his most telling contribution was in the build up to the third goal. There was an interesting conversation on Off The Ball last week about whether a team could afford the luxury of a non “dropping back” half forward and that even the Gooch would have to do his duty. For Cork’s 3rd goal he was in the line to stop Shields but didn’t really impede him.

Kerry Cork Gooch

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success % Weighting
B Sheehan (Kerry) 5 3 60% +0.373
J O’Donoghue (Kerry) 2 1 50% -0.312
BJ Keane (Kerry) 1 1 100% +0.064
C O’Neill (Cork) 5 4 80% +0.653
D O’Connor (Cork) 2 2 100% +0.227
team avgs 7.2 4.9 68.7%

Positive day all round but that will ultimately be overshadowed by what happened at the end. Both 45s were central (Sector 5) with a conversion Rate of 50%. So we could have expected an average intercounty player to convert one of them. C O’Neill & J O’Donoghue are no average players though … both missing was probably the outsider of the 4 combinations.

History doesn’t tell us much unfortunately. I have 9 Cork games in the database with two O’Neill 45s; both were central and he converted one – as per the expected return. He was on a good day (4/4 from frees and 1-02 from 5 attempts from play up until then) so was entitled to have a go. D O’Connor had gone off the pitch at that stage but if he was still on I wonder would he have taken it? Again unfortunately I only have two 45s recorded from him – he converted both but they were back in 2012.

Similarly for O’Donoghue I only have the one 45 in the database (which he missed) although he did miss a relatively straight forward free in the corresponding game last year. Again Kerry’s principal deadball proponent was off the pitch; I have four instances of Brian Sheehan taking a 45 with him converting …… 50%!

What it all goes to show is the absolute luxury Dublin have in Cluxton. And if he is so rock steady what does it say of Rock that he has taken over the duties (to date)?


Kerry’s kickouts Won % Turned into an attack % Shot %
Kerry 11 69% 9 82% 8 73%
Cork 5 31% 4 80% 2 40%
Cork’s kickouts Won % Turned into an attack % Shot %
Kerry 5 23% 3 60% 3 60%
Cork 17 77% 12 71% 12 71%

In the 2014 Munster final Cork never went short. They smacked the ball c55-70m and let the likes of Sheehan, Buckley, Walsh & Maher dismantle their game. They were much more nuanced here understanding the importance of primary possession. Although they won their own kickout 17 – 5 what will be really pleasing is that the short kickout did not dominate. When the ball went past the 45 – and the kickout became contestable – they won the possession battle 11 – 5.

On top of that when Kerry kicked the ball past the 45 Cork broke even winning 5 of the ten. Kerry’s kickout stats, unlike Cork, are padded by the 6 short kickout.


Team giving up the ball Pass In the Tackle from a Shot Other
Kerry 9 5 1 1
Cork 7 7 5 3

Rather than a game of two halves this was a conspicuously loose first 15 minutes followed by some of the most controlled play you are likely to see. That first 15 minutes had 19 turnovers – they remaining ~60 minutes (taking in injury time) had a combined 20.

Kerry are past masters at defending through holding the ball. Here they went ~25 minutes – from the 15th to the 38th on the clock plus first half injury time – coughing up the ball only once. That is just phenomenal ball control.

Players with >= 3 shots from play

Shots Scores Success % Weighting
C O’Neill (Cork) 5 3 60% +0.945
D O’Connor (Cork) 3 2 67% +0.968
Barry O’Driscoll (Cork) 3 2 67% +0.612
P Geaney (Kerry) 3 1 67% -0.057

Note; some post game tidying up. I charted Fionn Fitzgerald’s last point as a shot. There has been some debate over whether he meant it but my initial gut reaction was that he did. Also Colm O’Neill had a free on the left wing towards the end which I did not chart as a shot. Again my gut reaction was that taking the free with the left, from the left sideline – and looking where the ball landed – he was trying to drop it near the square (which he did getting a 45 from the scramble).

I missed the fact that Goulding was on the field for the final 45. He converted a number of 45s in the 2010 final as well as having 3 from 3 in the database (2012 – 2014).