Posts Tagged ‘Kilcoo’

Ballyboden St. Endas v Kilcoo 2019 All Ireland Club Final

January 8, 2020

A high level overview shows an incredibly close game that, on chances alone, Ballyboden edged. They had 21 shots, with an Expected return of 0 – 14; Kilcoo produced 20 shots expected to return 1 – 10. They were created off very similar Attack Rates (78% apiece), Shot Rates (68% v 69%) and Conversion Rates (52% v 50%).

And yet Ballyboden were scrambling at the end trying to claw back a five point deficit with ten minutes to go. How did Ballyboden return a similar Conversion Rate to that of Kilcoo, off roughly the same number of shots, but find themselves in that hole? In large part due to their shot type.

Ballyboden shooting

Disc = score, X= miss; yellow = deadball, red = attempt on goal, black = point attempt from play 1st half, black = 2nd half

13 (10x frees and 3x 45s) of Ballyboden’s 21 shots were deadballs. That accounts for 62% of all their attempts which is an incredibly high volume; both in absolute terms and as a percentage of a teams’ total shot count. In the four provincial finals the next highest was seven shots from deadballs for Padraig Pearses in the Connacht final which accounted for 41% of all their shots.

Given this high volume Ballyboden had to ensure accuracy on their deadballs to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Instead they were poor scoring just 0 – 07 (54%; Expt Pts of -2.43).

Looking at the shot chart calling that 54% poor would seem harsh as they scored 0 – 07 from the nine attempts closer to goal and missed the four “50:50” chances from around the 45. But if these were true “50:50” chances then the average for the four would have been 0 – 02. To not get any of them is very poor especially as all four were taken with the benefit of a noticeable wind.

That brings up another quirk in the Ballyboden game – their lack of long range shooting. With that wind in the second half the furthest they attempted a shot from was c25 metres. In the first half they only had one shot (from play) from outside the 20m line. They were very conservative in their shooting.

Compare that to Kilcoo

Kilcoo shooting

With the wind in the first half Kilcoo had ten shots with nine of them coming from “outside”. The tenth was Johnston’s goal which was worked off a turnover high up the pitch.

Kilcoo only managed to score 0 – 02 from those nine point attempts so it was not necessarily a very accurate ploy (22% Conversion Rate; Expt pts -1.76) but it is in stark contrast to how Ballyboden used the wind. The old Wayne Gretzky adage of “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” comes to mind.

Of course, the other difference with Kilcoo’s shooting was their goal attempts. Kilcoo created three scoring 2 – 00. Ballyboden only had the one shot at goal which was a tight angled attempt that ensued from a scramble deep into injury time.

Kilcoo were very good in this aspect in the Ulster final as well meaning that they have scored 4 – 01 from just seven attempts on goal in two games. This is well above what would be expected. Can they maintain this in the final? Generally, you would expect their returns on goal attempts to revert to the mean but that’s in a long run of games. Nothing is set for just one game.

Kickouts

Possession from kickouts was a wash. Both teams lost one short kickout whilst the possession was evenly split on those that landed past the 45 (Kilcoo won possession on 11 to Ballyboden’s 10). No great split by keeper either; Kilcoo won six of Ballyboden’s 13 kickouts past the 45 with Ballyboden winning four of Kilcoo’s eight

One slightly strange aberration was that Kilcoo didn’t manage a shot from any of the five Ballyboden kickouts they won. This wasn’t an apparent issue in the Ulster final against Naomh Conaill, when they scored
0 – 02, off two shots, from four Naomh Conaill kickouts. But one of those shots came from a short one that went wrong. Over their last two games that is seven opposition kickouts past the 45 they have claimed – but only produced one shot from same. If they get a toe hold in the final through Corofin’s kickout they’ll have to do more.

Kilcoo v Naomh Conaill 2019 Ulster Club Final

December 5, 2019

Kilcoo on the ball

Kilcoo’s start, up until the second goal which put them six points clear, was as clinical a display as you will find.

That is an 86%** Conversion Rate (2 – 10 from 14 shots – above) with 0.82 points per possessions. Everything was working; Conor Laverty was immense leading the line being directly involved in seven of those 14 shots. Darryl Branagan had scored 1 – 01 and was involved in the build up to the other goal. Everything was working; they scored immediately off a turnover inside Naomh Conaill’s 45, off a Naomh Conaill short
kickout that went awry as well as getting shots off after stringing 28 & 30 passes together.

**Technically it is 79% as Eugene Branagan’s point in the 12th minute was pushed over by McGrath

And then it wasn’t. From the Branagan goal in the 38th minute to his relieving point in the 59th Kilcoo only managed one shot. And that was again from Branagan. Indeed, from that second goal Kilcoo only managed three shots in total with Darryl Branagan taking two. The other was the breakaway in injury time where Ward tried to lob the keeper from 40 metres. No midfielder or forward had a point attempt for the guts of 30 minutes

The visual impression from the TV pictures (always the worst methodology from which to draw sweeping statements!) was that they went into their shell in that 20 minute period between the Branagan scores. Do the numbers support that?

Post the second goal they lost the possession count 12 – 8 after winning that particular battle 22-19 up to that point. Part of this reversal was the fact that Naomh Conaill got their hands on two of Kilcoo’s seven kickouts whilst Naomh Conaill held onto their only two. Nothing untoward there – except for what that means on turnovers. Kilcoo were 5 – 4 ahead on kickouts but 3 – 8 behind on turnovers. In 30 minutes, from the 10th minute to the 2nd goal, Kilcoo gave up a measly three turnovers. Then they gave up eight in 20 minutes.

Now part of all this is undoubtedly regression to the mean. No club team can keep the numbers Kilcoo were producing going. Part was undoubtedly Naomh Conaill stepping up. Desperation at going six behind propelled them forward. Given their travails in Donegal finals over the past few years they are far from meek lambs.

But part is also a change in how Kilcoo played and used the ball. Again, anecdotally Laverty seemed to be on the ball around the 45 and 65 a lot more in the closing 15 minutes. They also used the ball differently. The proportion of individual possessions inside and outside the 45 changed. It was roughly 3.8:1 (213 individual possessions outside the 45 to 56 inside) in the dominant period up until their 2nd goal. But thereafter it was 5:1; 100 possessions outside the 45 to 20 inside. They slowed up the delivery, invited Naomh Conaill on, and turned it over with less of a focal point up top.

Naomh Conaill on the ball

Naomh Conaill’s method of attack was very different to Kilcoo’s. Whereas Kilcoo were using Laverty at the head of the attack, alongside some hard running from Darryl Branagan and the Johnstons, Naomh Conaill much preferred the high ball into the full forward. Whilst an undoubted tactic and given the trend towards ball retention in recent years one, especially at club level, that defences are not used to dealing with, it is also quite volatile. How often does a high ball in result in a clean catch? In a goal? In a score from a flick on or a subsequent scramble?

The type of attack is not something I have tracked. Not because it is unimportant but mainly because we are viewing games on TV from one main camera angle. What happens pre the ball coming in (no. of forwards v defenders, the runs being made, has the full forward boxed out the full back etc.) is very hard to determine. So, the numbers here stand on their own without any context of what we would expect to happen.

Naomh Conaill launched ten high balls, on nine separate possession, into the square. Some were better than others but in the main they were on point into the square. Of those ten they manufactured four shots and scored 0 – 02 though the Expt Pts on those four shots was +3.14.

We know that “good” attacks will return 0.35 – 0.40 points per possession (ppp). On their high balls Naomh Conaill returned 0.20ppp but this was in part down to poor execution. They should have returned 0.31ppp which isn’t far off the average. That Expt Pts is very high for just four shots – and is part of the thought process behind using the high ball. You’ll get less shots but the ones you do get should be (will be?) much easier.

On the 26 possessions where they didn’t launch a high ball, they had 16 shots (a shot 62% of the time vs 40% on the high balls) scoring 2 – 07 or 0.50 ppp. The Expt Pts on these 16 shots was +9.98 or 0.38ppp
A muddled enough picture. Naomh Conaill definitely got more (much more) on those possessions they didn’t launch in. But a large part of that was from excellent shooting (+3.02 on Expt Pts on non-high balls v -1.14 on the high balls). When we look at the Expt Pts for both the gap is much narrower (0.31ppp for high balls vs 0.38ppp for non-high balls).

And this is where the volatility comes in. Naomh Conaill got less shots but one of them was a goal attempt from the edge of the small square which was blasted over. You get the sense that to make the constant frequent high ball tactic work you need a goal.