Posts Tagged ‘League’

2018 Division 1 Overview – post Rd4

March 8, 2018

Below is a quick overview of some of the more interesting numbers coming out of this year’s league. When listing individual teams, under any specific metric, note that it will be confined to those teams with at least three games played (see NOTE1)


Team Possessions

11 games covered which equates to 22 returns – of which Galway have the three performances with the least amount of possessions. Not just the three lowest though – their two games against Donegal and Mayo are a full six possessions lower than the next lowest recorded by any other team. Intriguingly it is not that they are completely slowing games down and “dragging” the opposition down with them. They have easily lost the possession battle in all three games; by totals of 6 (v Kerry), 7 (v Mayo) and 8 (v Donegal).

Player possessions

That impression you have of Dublin dominating possession? Yeah it is not merely an impression. Of all team possessions with 20 or more player possessions (essentially player touches or strings of passing) Dublin have six of the top 11 and are the only team to top 30 player possessions in the one move.

Offensive production


Perhaps surprisingly Dublin are not the most prolific offensive team in terms of output. They are below the average in the number of shots per game and shots per possession they attempt. What they lack for in quantity they more than make up for in quality however. They have a wonderfully high Conversion Rate on the shots they do take. Alloy this Conversion Rate, with the high volume of possessions, and you get your high scores.

Galway are highly proficient when they attack (high shots per possessions and Conversion Rate) but as noted above their (current) weakness could be the inability to create enough shots, through low possession counts, should the radar be off.

Donegal are shooting from everywhere with near on 30 shots per game – but their relatively low Conversion Rate is indicative of the fact that a lot of these are from “outside” the shooting zone.

Kerry’s new forward unit with O’Sé, Burns & Clifford are chugging along nicely whilst Mayo are struggling.

Player – shooting

The above table shows all players with at least 8 shots from play (see NOTE2).

Brannigan is currently on fire scoring 2 – 06 from his 10 shots as is McBrearty’s left peg (all 13 shots are point attempts with the left). Noticeable how these two are then followed by a squadron of Dublin attackers. This is to be somewhat expected given Dublin’s 65% Conversion Rate as a whole but it is still striking when you see that they have five of the top7 shooters by Expt Pts.

Player – assists

So this is new. I have started to track assists as another tool to view the front 8. This is somewhat subjective as a number of shots will come from players themselves making the breakthrough thus not producing an assist; or a defender might foul the ball thus providing the opposition with a shot from a free (does the player who induced the foul get an assist?); or the last pass may be an incidental popped hand pass (see NOTE3). As with any new metric there’ll have to be an element of trust on this one!

Unlike the shooting, which can have a positive or negative Expt Pts depending on whether the shots were converted, assists can only have a positive Expt Pts as the Expt Pts will relate to the point attempt rather than the shot outcome. But what we can do is plot the Expt Pts for shooting versus the Expt Pts for assists and get a more complete picture of a player’s offensive involvement

The above chart shows the shooting/assist Expt Pts interplay for those players listed previously with at least 8 shots from play. Where you want to be is in the top right quadrant (highlighted by the green circle) with a high positive Expt Pts for shooting (thus being very accurate) and a high Expt Pts for assists (thus showing a high level of attacking involvement).

Can we consider Fenton a midfielder? These offensive numbers are off the chart – high volume of shots, with high accuracy and high assists production. On his assists he has won three frees that led to Dean Rock attempts at goal, set up Kilkenny for his goal against Tyrone and also provided the assist for seven point attempts. Phenomenal.

McBrearty has two less assists than Fenton (9 v 11); he also has won three frees (that he himself took) but has set up two goal attempts and four point attempts.

Given his accuracy from play (0 – 09 from 13 point attempts) and the fact that he is Donegal’s main free taker (0 – 17 from 20; 85% Conversion Rate and +0.8 Expt Pts) it is some feat to also be so high on the assist chart. He is a very different player to Fenton but currently no less phenomenal.

The only problem with the first chart is that it hides the “non shooters”. Purely listing by the volume of assists we see the likes of A O’Shea, P Conroy and S O’Sé start to rise to the top.

Defensive production

Again perhaps surprisingly Dublin do not show up as best in class here. They allow more shots per possession than anyone else which, allied to their more open games, leads to more shots allowed per game than anyone else. What is noticeable however is the low quality of the opposition’s shooting (Conversion Rate at a very low 45%).

This low Conversion Rate can undoubtedly be attributed to excellent defending (more pressure on the shooter and/or teams taking shots from less favourable positions) but there must also be a mental aspect to this – teams forcing attempts knowing they have to keep up.

The argument against this is perhaps Galway. Their defensive numbers are very similar to Dublin’s yet it would be hard to argue that teams are under the same mental pressure when facing Galway as they are when facing Dublin.

I would contend however that Galway defend differently – tighter, more aggressive – and it is this that gives them the same defensive edge that Dublin seem to gain from their opponent’s mentality. Still it is definitely something worth looking at after the league – do teams shoot differently against Dublin as opposed to against anyone else?

On the offensive summary we commented on Kerry & Donegal’s higher numbers which was a nod to the fact that they had a good balance in attack (Kerry) or a defined game plan (Donegal could be deemed “shoot on sight”). They are both struggling on the back end however.


When looking at these tables it is again important to reference NOTE1 below – any changes may be as a consequence of natural differences between league and Championship rather than wholly attributable to the changes in the kickout rules.

Having said that there has definitely been a change in kickouts with the proportion of kickouts going short (landing inside the 45m line) dropping from 48% in the 2017 Championship to 37% this league campaign. That’s dramatic enough and the sample size – at 28% of the 2017 Championship games – is representative. Come the end of the league we can expect the proportion of short kickouts to have dropped by c10%.

We have seen Marks increase but not to any great degree. Instead we are back to the future where breaking ball is becoming more important. I define such kickouts as “contestable” (outside the 45m line and not claimed through a Mark – see NOTE4).

Kickout teams have increased the proportion of “contestable” kickouts they win but in both the 2017 Championship & 2018 League campaigns teams only manage to win c50% of their own “contestable” kickouts.

There are some interesting titbits looking at kickouts by team

Galway weren’t as fond of the short kickout as others in 2017 but have almost eschewed it completely so far with only 14% going short (remember the average is 38%). Given that the kickout team gets the ball ~95% of the time when it goes short this also explains why they are losing the possession battle as noted earlier (as does the fact that they are below average in winning their own “contestable” kickouts).

Donegal’s drop off is as pronounced (60% of kickouts in 2017 Championship went short versus 25% in the 2018 League) however this could be attributed to a change in philosophy under Declan Bonnar as much as anything else.

Dublin’s short ones have dropped off completely (66% in ’17 down to 44% thus far) – getting ready for the Summer perhaps when they expect a high press from the opposition? Also noticeable that despite their athleticism, and Cluxton’s radar like aim, they are only average on “contestable” kickouts.
Mayo & Kerry appear to have completely ignored the new rule (playing possum and not showing their Summer hand?). Kerry have been very good on their own kickout claiming a high of 69% of their own “contestable” kickouts.


Note1; 11 Division1 games in total. All shown on TV so any bias can be aimed at TG4 and/or EIR! Only Division1 game not completed thus far is Monaghan-v-Tyrone
Where there are comparisons to 2017 Championship numbers it is worth noting that we have no real previous comparisons between League and Championship campaigns. There has always been the sense that the League will be different but we just don’t know (I have been particularly lazy in not doing league campaigns before!).
This point, that there may be a natural difference between League & Championship, is particularly important when we come to kickouts as we have the additional overlay of the new kickout rules. Just because numbers change here does not mean it is as a direct result of the law changes – there may also be a natural difference between League & Championship outputs.

Note2: As an aside this shows the problem with judging players through their shooting. Even the most prolific shooter – McBrearty at 13 shots in three games – has a very small sample size

Note3; I have ~84% of shots not having an assist.

Note4; acknowledging that not all kickouts past the 45m line are contested – nor indeed that all Marks are un-contested. Still – it’s an easy label.


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

March 3, 2017

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

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

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


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


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

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

Dublin v 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)


Dublin v Donegal 2016 League SF

April 12, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dub - Don league SF Expt Pts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Shot Charts

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

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


Cork V Dublin 2015 League final

April 28, 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
Cork 57 28 53% 21 75% 9 43% -1.711
Dublin 57 43 75% 33 77% 22 67% +2.969
Avg 37.0 28.7 77.7% 14.7 51.2%

Dublin will be very pleased with their day’s work but if Galvin wanted to nit-pick on something over the coming months it could be that this facile victory was built upon a second half when the game was done. In that second half their shooting returns were 12 of 15 (80%) with a weighting of +3.127. They were not clinical enough in the first half – against a better team they may find themselves in a hole with such finishing.

Still they *did* score 1-21. The above is cribbing for the sake of cribbing.

Cork on the other hand won’t be searching too hard for bulletin board material throughout the Summer. They had low shot volumes with poor execution but this all stemmed from the very low volume of attacks they had (28 to Dublin’s 43).

Although they had enough ball to be in the game they were wholly unable to use it. Cork only managed to get every other possession (53% in total) into the opposition’s 45. Dublin pressed hard up high which stifled Cork’s ability to move the ball. This was encapsulated in a little snippet around the 16th minute in the first half. About 30m out Brady hand passed a ball to McManamon but as the ball arrived McManamon slipped. Instead of lamenting his bad luck Brady chased down Cadogan, who had picked up the ball, and pressured the ensuing pass. Cadogan kicked the ball straight over the sideline – a Cork turnover, and possible counter attack, was snuffed out before it had even begun.

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success % Weighting
Cork 14 3 21% -2.582
Dublin 24 14 58% +1.744
Avgs 21.4 9.7 45.3%

Perhaps the most surprising return from the game was that Dublin only managed one shot at goal from play – when Jack McCaffrey hit the post in the second half. In 2013 25% of all their shots were at goal. The new conservative Dublin or just a one off?

Elsewhere Rock, Kilkenny and Andrews were very good hitting a combined 8 from 8 with a weighting of +4.078

The most disappointing aspect of the day was Cork’s exceptionally poor shooting. Hurley & O’Neill are two of the best marksmen in the game but they were 1 from 5 on the day. Daniel Goulding missed three as well for good measure.

As a whole Cork only had nine point attempts from play converting one. Although the shooting was undoubtedly affected by the limited volume Cork’s problems were not solely limited to moving the ball up the pitch.

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success % Weighting
D Rock (Dublin) 7 7 100% +1.312
D Connolly (Dublin) 1 1 100% +0.182
S Cluxton (Dublin) 1 1 100% -0.269
C O’Neill (Cork) 5 5 100% +1.410
B Hurley (Cork) 1 1 100% +0.064
J Hayes (Cork) 1 0 0% -0.603
team avgs 7.2 4.9 68.7%

A good day all round with only Cluxton’s very long range free and Hayes’ last kick of the ball missing the target.

Although O’Neill converted two less than Rock his weighting comes in higher due to the nature of the frees both attempted. Only two of Rock’s seven frees came from the wings whilst O’Neill converted three from the wings – including a 45. Rock’s volume basically made up for O’Neill’s difficulty.


Corks’s kickouts Won % Turned into an attack % Shot %
Cork 24 77% 14 58% 9 38%
Dublin 7 23% 6 86% 5 71%
Dublin’s kickouts Won % Turned into an attack % Shot %
Cork 1 7% 0 0
Dublin 13 93% 10 77% 8 62%

Dublin lorded their own kickouts winning 93% (13 from 14).

Cork were also strong on their own kickout – winning 77% (24 from 31) but this drops to 65% when the short kickouts are removed. That in itself is not bad but the high volume of short kickouts is somewhat padding the stats.

Although they got their hands on the football Cork struggled to get the ball upfield once the kickout was won. Of the 23 kickouts they won inside their own half Cork only managed to move 57% ( 13 of the 23) into the opposition’s 45

Cork have been very fond of the short kickout in the past two games – 40% of the 57 kickouts dropped short of the 45 – it will be interesting to see if they persist with this method throughout the year and whether that continues into them struggling to get attacks off against better teams.

Shot Charts

Cork’s shooting
Cork shooting (v Dublin)

Dublin’s shooting
Dublin shooting (V Cork)

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
B Brogan (Dublin) 4 2 50% -0.172
D Rock (Dublin) 3 3 100% +1.495
C Kilkenny (Dublin) 3 3 100% +1.417
K McManamon (Dublin) 3 1 33% -0.636
D Goulding (Cork) 3 0 0% -1.175
B Hurley (Cork) 3 0 0% -1.184

Dublin V Monaghan 2015 League semi final

April 13, 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 48 41 85% 28 68% 17 61% +2.626
Monaghan 39 33 85% 28 85% 16 57% +2.832
Avg 37.0 28.7 77.7% 14.7 51.2%

In terms of outcomes both teams posted similar numbers – just one score in the difference with high Success Rates & Weightings.

How both teams went about amassing their shots was the big difference. Dublin had a huge lead in terms of possessions, fuelled as we will see below by their utter dominance at kickouts, and whilst they converted those possessions to attacks at a high rate (85%) they then stalled once they got inside the Monaghan’s 45. This flow – a high attack rate combined with a low shot rate – is to be somewhat expected when you come up against a defensive set up which Monaghan would generally be regarded as.

Monaghan on the other hand were living on comparative scraps but they were ruthlessly efficient with what they had. They had a full 8 attacks less than Dublin but managed the same volume of shots. And those shots were no forlorn haymakers – their accuracy was on a par with Dublin.

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success % Weighting
Dublin 20 10 50% +1.032
Monaghan 21 11 52% +2.283
Avgs 21.4 9.7 45.3%

Again excellent shooting from both teams though Dublin will possibly be concerned with the lack of cutting edge in the second half. Yes they scored 0-08 in that second half but that only contained six shots from play in that entire half with only two in the last 25 minutes.

Monaghan’s accuracy from play can, in the main, be attributed to C McManus with a generous helping from D Clerkin. McManus was 5 from 6 with a weighting of +2.566 – his only miss was a dubious one as well coming in from the wing on the right I adjudged he attempted a shot with the outside of his foot – he may well have been attempting a pass across the goal.

Clerkin came on at half time and managed 3 points from 4 shots with a weighting of +1.258. Some cameo.

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success % Weighting
D Rock (Dublin) 8 7 88% +1.594
C McManus (Monaghan) 3 3 100% +0.955
R Beggan (Monaghan) 3 1 33% -0.569
P Finlay (Monaghan) 1 1 100% +0.163
team avgs 7.2 4.9 68.7%

All the regulation frees were converted.

Due to the nature of the weighting Beggan probably gets harshly dealt here. His three attempts were monstrous ones (two long, one wide on the 45) so 1pt feels about par. A negative weighting is harsh.

Monaghan will be disappointed with their defensive discipline. As highlighted they had stymied Dublin in the second half however let them keep the scoreboard ticking over through frees. All Rock’s frees were “gettable” and given their hitherto fore reliance on deadballs you would think Monaghan would be equally as conscious of not giving them up at the other end.


Team “coughing up” possession Volume Shots from Turnovers %
Dublin 23 15 65%
Monaghan 13 7 54%

A very low turnover volume from Monaghan – considering how few possessions they had compared to Dublin it was imperative that they make the most of what they had. This they did.


Dublin’s kickouts Won % Turned into an attack % Shot %
Dublin 18 75% 15 83% 8 44%
Monaghan 6 25% 6 100% 5 83%
Monaghan’s kickouts Won % Turned into an attack % Shot %
Dublin 16 64% 15 94% 12 75%
Monaghan 9 36% 6 67% 6 67%

This was Dublin’s main strength throughout the day. If we remove all short kickouts, and define the remainder as contestable, Dublin won the kickout battle 24-8 and outscored Monaghan 0-10 to 0-04 form the possessions emanating from these kickouts. There was a period in the first half where, after Dean Rock had missed his only free, Dublin got their hands on a Monaghan kickout three times in a row scoring three points. If nothing else Monaghan showed remarkable resilience to stay in the game given the problems they were having getting primary ball.

Shot Charts

Dublin’s shooting
Dublin shooting (V Monaghan 15 league)

Monaghan’s shooting
Monaghan shooting (V Dublin 15 league)

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
C McManus (Monaghan) 6 5 83% +2.544
D Clerkin (Monaghan) 4 3 75% +1.258
K Hughes (Monaghan) 4 2 50% +0.412
K McManamon (Dublin) 3 2 67% +0.704
B Fenton (Dublin) 3 2 67% +0.540
D Connolly (Dublin) 3 0 0% -1.184

Dublin V Derry 2014 league final

April 28, 2014

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


Team Possessions Shots Shot Rate Scores Success Rate Weighting
Dublin 57 47 82% 23 49% -0.290
Derry 29 20 69% 11 55% +0.931
Champ avg (’12 & ’13) 35.8 27.6 77.2% 14.1 51.0%

The numbers just prove that Dublin were as dominant as they looked to be in real-time.

For the second game in a row Dublin’s shooting was below average, recording a Success Rate of 49%, but like in the Cork game that doesn’t really matter a damn if you can have 27 more shots than your opponent (it was 17 more shots in the Cork game).

In last year’s Championship the highest number of attacking possessions was 49 for, coincidentally, Dublin against Westmeath. This is now the second game in a row where they have smashed through that with 57 possessions here and 54 against Cork. In both games their Shot Rate was in the low 80 percentile. Dublin’s huge scoring is not down to their shooting prowess but rather the relentless nature of their attacking play. In the last two games they have overcome below average shooting with a phenomenal volume of shots.

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
Dublin 42 19 45% -0.301
Derry 16 10 63% +2.366
Champ avg (’12 & ’13) 20.3 9.2 45.4%

Again not much to be said here except to once again underline Dublin’s dominance. B Brogan & E O’Gara had as many shots from play (10 fro Brogan, 6 for O’Gara) as the entire Derry team.

Once again Dublin were goal hungry. The percentages may not be as gaudy as the Tyrone game – where 40% of Dublin’s shots from play were shots at goal – but it did return a healthy 24% this time around. That’s 10 shots at goal in the one game. Converting three is about par for this team.

Derry did have 6 goal attempts themselves getting 1-03 from those 6 shots but it was the 20th minute before they had an attempt for a point from play. Dublin had already taken 15 shots at that stage.

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
B Brogan (Dublin) 3 3 100% +0.333
S Cluxton (Dublin) 2 1 50% -0.322
M Lynch (Derry) 2 0 0% -1.119
E Bradley (Derry) 1 1 100% +0.232
B Heron (Derry) 1 0 0% -0.547
team avgs (’12 & ’13 Champ) 7.3 4.9 66.7%

The intensity was long gone from the game and this can be viewed by the fact that not one shot in the second half was from a dead ball.

One of the weaknesses of the weighting is exposed here as although Lynch’s two attempts were from scorable sectors, (Sectors 4 & 6 respectively), both frees were more or less on the touchline.

Not that it mattered but I thought it a strange decision from McIver to take off Heron just as they had received a free, in Sector 4, favouring his left foot. Take him off after the free? Or let Bradley, who took a subsequent free from the same side, take it? Yes it would have been Bradley’s first touch but would that have been any worse than asking Lynch to convert from the right sideline with his right foot? As I said not a decision of any great consequence but I just thought it odd.


Dublin’s kickouts Won % Turned into a possession % Shot %
Dublin 14 100% 12 86% 7 50%
Derry 0 0% 0 0
Derry’s kickouts Won % Turned into a possession % Shot %
Dublin 14 37% 13 93% 11 79%
Derry 24 63% 15 63% 11 46%

Dublin’s dominance was all encompassing. They had 14 kickouts and won all 14; we didn’t see where two landed (but given the flow of the game, and the time from the kickout, it was obvious that Dublin had garnered possession) and seven of the remaining twelve went short, so Dublin would be expected to win the majority but still; to gather all 14 is some accomplishment.

For all the problems that they had Derry did ok on their own kickouts. In total they had 38 but won possession on 63% of those (24 to Dublin’s 14). It was what happened next that hampered them – from the 24 that they won they only managed 11 shots from that possession; Dublin also managed 11 shots but from the relatively meagre 14 Derry kickouts that they won.

Of the 24 kickouts that Derry won only 6 were kicked short. Whereas Dublin kicked 7 short and managed to convert 6 into attacking possessions and three into shots Derry didn’t get one shot from their 6 short kickouts and only managed one attacking possession. Winning primary ball from their own kickouts was not the issue – it was the second phase and moving it through to Dublin’s 45 that stopped them in their tracks.


Turned Over Shots from Turnovers %
Dublin 33 24 73%
Derry 25 9 36%


Misplaced Pass Tackled Shots not going dead Mishandled possession Fouled ball
Dublin 18 4 6 4 1
Derry 13 3 6 2 1

After adding kickouts to the data last year the plan is to record turnovers this year. At a high level shots that go dead, either through going wide or being a score, will not be covered here as they are either covered in the shooting stats or the kickout stats (or both).

Dublin had 32% more turnovers than Derry (33 to Derry’s 25) however it is what Dublin did with that turnover ball that is so striking. They managed to get a shot from 73% of those turnovers compared to just 36% from Derry. We have no reference points for either of these two numbers but the gap in returns would appear huge!

Dublin managed to score 1-09 from their 33 turnovers (30% conversion rate) whilst Derry scored 0-05 from their 25 (20% conversion rate).

The spread of turnover types are very similar though Derry did misplace 5 more passes whilst also mishandling twice as many balls as Dublin (granted at very small volumes).

Shot Charts

Dublin’s shooting
Dublin (v Derry) shooting
Derry’s shooting
Derry shooting
x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, white = play

Players with >= 2 shots from play

B Brogan scored 1-06, which is an excellent return, but he took 13 shots to achieve it. His combined weighting for those 13 shots was -0.007 i.e. for the type of shots he undertook his returns were bang on average.

Flynn & Connolly had very good games with a combined 1-05 from 10 shots (60% Success Rate & a weighting of 1.592) whilst after a poor shooting performance against Cork ( 1 from 6) A Brogan pulled the horns in and chipped in with two points from two shots.

A quick note for O’Kane who tried valiantly to raise the team from centre half back. He managed three shots with his only “miss” being a quick spectacular volley that ricocheted off a Dublin player standing on the line.

Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
B Brogan (Dublin) 10 4 40% -0.34
E O’Gara (Dublin) 6 3 50% -0.041
D Connolly (Dublin) 5 3 60% +0.877
P Flynn (Dublin) 5 3 60% +0.715
K McManamon (Dublin) 4 1 25% -0.930
M Lynch (Derry) 3 2 67% +0.778
G O’Kane (Derry) 3 2 67% +0.525
E McGuckin (Derry) 3 2 67% +0.459
A Brogan (Dublin) 2 2 100% +1.281
C O’Boyle (Derry) 2 2 100% +1.094
C Reddin (Dublin) 2 1 50% +0.142
D Byrne (Dublin) 2 0 0% -1.207
E Lynn (Derry) 2 0 0% -1.207

Derry V Mayo 2014 League

April 15, 2014

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


Team Possessions Shots Shot Rate Scores Success Rate Weighting
Derry 40 33 83% 17 52% +0.467
Mayo 41 29 71% 17 59% +1.107
Champ (’12 & ’13 avg) 35.8 27.6 77.2% 14.1 51.0%

That old chestnut – goals win games. The outputs are pretty evenly matched. There was only one possession in the difference with Derry being more efficient with their Shot Rate whilst Mayo were more accurate with their shots.

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
Derry 24 12 50% +1.683
Mayo 21 10 48% +0.538
Champ avgs (’12 & ’13) 20.3 9.2 45.4%

Considering they were down to 14 men for the majority of the game that is an excellent effort from Derry to outperform Mayo. The main protagonist for Derry was Mark Lynch who hit an excellent 4 scores from 6 shots with a weighting of +1.495.

Of course the corollary of this is that against 14 men Mayo will be disappointed to only produce an average number of shots from play. Doherty stepped up to the mark for them, taking 5 shots, but he only connected with 2 of them; no one was able to replicate Lynch’s performance for Mayo.

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
M Lynch (Derry) 8 5 63% -0.670
B Heron (Derry) 1 0 0% -0.547
A Freeman (Mayo) 8 6 75% +0.482
A Moran (Mayo) 1 1 100% +0.087
team avgs (’12 & ’13 Champ) 7.3 4.9 66.7%

Much of the post match discussion was around the volume and type of frees. Both teams had 9 shots at goal from deadballs; all Derry’s attempts were from frees whilst Mayo had seven frees and two 45s.

Over the two semi finals Mayo gave away a shot from a free on every 4.44 of the opposition’s possessions; for the same metric Derry gave away 5.85 frees per opposition possession, Cork 7.71 and Dublin 17.5

Lynch had a wonderful game but his place kicking was below average. Now those returns might be on the harsh side as two of his misses were from outside the 45. The volume of frees from outside the 45 is low, so the averages from these sectors may be weaker than the other sectors but the evidence we have to date suggests that he should have done better (or not taken the shot on at all from that far out).

A quick note for Lynn who won four of Derry’s shots from frees; it is a small statistic that will not show up anywhere but vitally important to any team.

Mayo won 60% of all kickouts (29 versus 19) and managed 5 more shots from those wins (19 shots to Derry’s 14). As ever those bare numbers don’t tell the whole story.

Mayo won a disproportionate 79% of their own kickouts (19 to Derry’s 5) however this is padded by the volume of short kickouts that Mayo employed. All bar one of those short kickouts occurred post the Fergal Doherty red card as Derry funneled back trying to set up with 14 men.

Rob Hennelly was too quick for TG4’s cameras on three occasions so of the 21 kickouts that we could fully chart 9 were taken short. Mayo won all 9 attempting 5 shots. Of the remaining 12 Mayo won 7 getting 5 shots whilst Derry won 5 getting 3 shots. So that is a shot differential of +7 for Mayo on their own kickouts.

Derry won possession on 58% of their own kickouts (14 to Mayo’s 10). Unlike Mayo Derry only went short once. Of the remaining 23 kickouts Derry won 13 getting 10 shots whilst Mayo won 10 getting 8 shots. A shot differential of +2.

A case of Mayo winning the kickout battle but Derry ultimately winning the war.

Players with >= 2 shots

Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
M Lynch (Derry) 6 4 67% +1.459
J Doherty (Mayo) 5 2 40% +0.156
C O’Boyle (Derry) 4 2 50% +0.515
L Keegan (Mayo) 4 1 25% -0.485
M Sweeney (Mayo) 3 2 67% +0.224
A Moran (Mayo) 3 1 33% -0.192
E Varley (Mayo) 2 1 50% +0.215
S McGoldrick (Derry) 2 1 50% +0.003
C McFaul (Derry) 2 1 50% -0.417

Dublin V Cork 2014 League

April 15, 2014

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


Team Possessions Shots Shot Rate Scores Success Rate Weighting
Dublin 54 45 83% 22 49% -1.280
Cork 35 28 80% 14 50% 0.719
Champ (’12 & ’13 avg) 35.8 27.6 77.2% 14.1 51.0%

Please note that Cork’s second goal is not considered in the below returns. Although it emanated from a Cork shot that shot is deemed to have dropped short rather than the end result being a goal.

44 is the highest number of shots recorded in a game to date. It generally won’t matter what your Shot & Success Rates are if you can totally smother the opposition in shots.

As it happens Dublin’s shooting was quite poor converting only 49% of their shots. Cork’s returns were actually average – their shooting was, however slightly, better than Dublin’s – but they just could not deal with the avalanche of attacks.

1st half

Possessions Shots Shot Rate Scores Success Rate Weighting
Dublin 22 17 77% 7 41% -1.273
Cork 23 20 87% 10 50% 0.681

2nd half

Possessions Shots Shot Rate Scores Success Rate Weighting
Dublin 32 28 88% 15 54% -0.007
Cork 12 8 67% 4 50% 0.038

This game was the atypical game of two halves. It was not that Cork were more dominant than Dublin in that first half – they had 23 possessions to Dublin’s 22 – but rather they were more clinical in their shooting.

In the second half however Dublin took over with 32 possessions & 28 shots (a Shot Rate of 87.5%). There are teams that would struggle to achieve those numbers in 70 minutes let alone 35.

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
Dublin 37 17 46% -0.757
Cork 26 13 50% +1.107
Champ avgs (’12 & ’13) 20.3 9.2 45.4%

Again we can see that Cork’s radar was more accurate than Dublin’s – Dublin just (!) had an extra eleven shots.

Some of Dublin’s starters had quite an off day with A Brogan, McManamon, Connolly & Andrews combining for a very poor stat line of 5 scores from 20 shots (20% Success Rate) with a weighting of -3.803. It was the accuracy of O’Gara, B Brogan & McAauley that ensured the returns were just below average.

A quick mention for Brian Hurley as well. Against Kerry he hit 7 scores from 11 shots and was on course to better that here with a first half return of 5 points from 7 shots. I’m not sure what’s more remarkable – the volume of shots or the combined Success Rate of 67% (average = 45%) during that span. Unfortunately for Cork he was starved of the ball in the second half and didn’t manage to get another shot off.

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
B Brogan (Dublin) 3 3 100% +0.618
D Connolly (Dublin) 3 2 67% +0.056
S Cluxton (Dublin) 2 0 0% -1.197
D Goulding (Cork) 2 1 50% -0.387
team avgs (’12 & ’13 Champ) 7.3 4.9 66.7%

Much like the Kerry-Cork game last week the figure that jumps off the page is Dublin only affording Cork two shots at goal, or one for every 17.5 possessions, from free kicks.

Dublin had 7 frees, or 1 free in scoring range for every 7.7 possessions, converting four. Cluxton missed two but one of them was a monster attempt from outside the 45

Dublin won 64% (37 out of 58) of all kickouts gaining 12 extra shots from the possessions won but this really was a case of contrasting fortunes.

Dublin had a total of 24 kickouts in the game and won possession on 21 of these (88%). This return is inflated however by the fact that, from afar, Cork appeared to be content to ‘let’ Dublin have the short kickout. This worked initially in that Dublin did not manage to manufacture a shot from the first 5 kickouts that went short but of the next eight short kickouts Dublin got a shot off 6 times. The stat that best shows that Cork’s tactic didn’t work was that from Dublin’s 24 kickouts Dublin managed a shot 12 times; Cork managed two.

Cork more or less broke even on their own kickouts winning 18 to Dublin’s 16. This wasn’t enough however considering that the tactic on Dublin’s kickouts wasn’t working.

In the 30 minutes of Dublin dominance in the second half Cork had 20 kickouts. They gained primary possession on 11 of these so the kickouts did not collapse per se in that period. They got their hands on the ball as often as they did in the first half. They were just not able to get their hands on Dublin kickouts nor turnover the ball when Dublin were attacking (28 shots from 31 possessions)

Players with >= 2 shots from play

Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
B Hurley (Cork) 7 5 71% +1.832
A Brogan (Dublin) 6 1 17% -1.476
P Andrews (Dublin) 5 2 40% +0.023
K McManamon (Dublin) 5 1 20% -1.634
C O’Neill (Cork) 4 2 50% -0.040
D Connolly (Dublin) 4 1 25% -0.716
E O’Gara (Dublin) 3 3 100% +1.158
B Brogan (Dublin) 3 2 67% +0.434
D O’Connor (Cork) 3 1 33% -0.078
M Collins (Cork) 3 1 33% -0.238
P Flynn (Dublin) 2 2 100% +1.094
MD MacAuley (Dublin) 2 2 100% +0.884
D Goulding (Cork) 2 1 50% +0.142
F Goold (Cork) 2 1 50% -0.207
P Kerrigan (Cork) 2 0 0% -0.719
P McMahon (Dublin) 2 0 0% -1.116