Posts Tagged ‘Louth’

2017 Expt Wins

January 22, 2018

So in what is now becoming an annual exercise let’s review the 2017 season through the prism of Expected Wins (Expt Wins).The 2015 and 2016 versions of this article can be found here and here

For the uninitiated Expt Wins uses bookmaker’s odds (note 1), as a sort of independent arbiter, to see which teams over (or under!) performed versus what was expected on a game by game basis. It is a much better fairer view than sheer win percentages given (a) how relatively short the season is for most teams and (b) how uneven the Championship can be in terms of the quality of teams facing off against each other.

Table 1; 2017’s best and brightest

Unsurprisingly the top10 is peppered with teams that were promoted. This makes sense as for the majority of teams the league makes up at least two thirds of their season.

Carlow had an excellent season – but it was no fluke; they were also top5 in 2016. Over the past two seasons they have won 11 games when they were only expected to win ~7.7. And they managed to top the 2017 table despite losing as 1/16 home favourites against London. 1/16, without accounting for the bookmaker’s margin (see note1), implies a 94% win probability. Win that game and their “above Expt Wins” total would be twice that of second placed Louth. That loss is the shortest price loss in the database and must be one they desperately want back. There is no guarantee that Carlow would have gained promotion had they beaten London – as Wexford no doubt would have put greater emphasis on their final two games – but they must be absolutely kicking themselves every time they think of that game. And yet – they still topped the 2017 table despite this loss.

Now I am by no means an expert on the ins and outs of Louth football – and you have to think they have a good ‘un in Pete McGrath – but you have to feel for Colin Kelly. Back to back promotions. A 59% win rate over that period which lands them 5th on that metric behind the likes of Dublin, Tyrone, Kerry and Kildare (themselves aided by back to back promotions) and along with Carlow the only team to finish in the top5 Expt wins both years.

The two Championship campaigns were poor in comparison (played 6 won 3 with three loses of 4, 6 and 9 when stepping up against Derry and Meath) but still … be careful what you wish for.

In 2016 Tyrone and Cavan were in the top10 following successful promotions from Division2 and the trend holds true for Galway and Kildare. Division2 is always very tight – just under half (27 of 56) of all games in the last two years had a zero or one point handicap. Extend that to two points and 80% of the games are covered. Win enough games to gain promotion in these tight contests and you are well on your way to outperforming expectations for the season.

Table 2; 2017’s laggards

This is a mixed bunch of
1. Division4 teams who struggled to register wins and who are perennially down the bottom of these rankings – Limerick, Waterford, Wicklow
2. Teams that had a disastrous season – Cavan, Laois, Derry
3. Very good teams that didn’t get the job done enough – Kerry & Mayo
4. Cork!

Taking the four cohorts in order

1. The worst team in 2017 was (subjectively) Wicklow but no matter how bad you are when you play your peers in the league you are always given “some” chance. Wicklow’s seven league appearances saw them chalked up at odds of 8/11, 3/1, 5/6, 10/3, 11/2, 6/5 and 6/1. When we remove the bookmaker’s margin that equates to an expectation of two wins. And that’s for the “worst team”. Limerick’s odds were 8/13, 11/10, 13/8, 1/10, 8/15, 11/8 and 1/10 which comes out at just over four wins.

No matter how poorly you are viewed under Expt Wins you will always be expected to notch up at least two wins and maybe four or five … if you struggle to win games full stop you will always be down the bottom end of this table.

2. All three of Cavan, Laois and Derry were relegated and whilst combined they won 4 of 10 Championship games three of those victories came against Division4 teams when they were heavily favoured. At a very high level this cohort win the games they are expected to win, lost the ones they were expected to lose and came out the wrong side of way too many 50:50 calls

3. Mayo being so low on the table is easy enough to explain; in the three games that they drew Mayo were 1/5, 1/6 and 23/10 – those three games alone account for their negative Expt Wins. Kerry are slightly different. They may have finally managed to beat Dublin in the Division1 final but outside of that they failed to win half their games – with three of those games coming against Mayo when a good favourite (2/5, 1/2 and 8/13). They were almost prohibitively favoured at 1/20, 1/5 & 1/6 in the three Championship games that they won. That mixture (winning when big favourite, losing/drawing when favouritism is less obvious) is a recipe for a poor Expt Wins season

4. Cork. Ah Cork. For the second year in a row they appear in the bottom5 but can you imagine how poor they would look had Waterford managed to tack on one more point when Cork were 1/50? Cork were middle of the pack on win ratio (winning 41% of their games) but were overturned by Tipperary as a 7 point favourite in the 2016 Championship whilst also losing at odds of 1/3, 4/11 and 4/11 over the two league campaigns. They never won a game as underdog to balance these losses.

Is it predictive?
Although there are outliers – notably Carlow, Louth and Cork – I would lean towards no. There is just too much volatility as teams yo-yo up and down the table; Kerry from 27th in 2015 to equal 6th in 2016 and then back down to 28th in 2017; Cavan from 9th to 31st, Armagh from 32nd to 5th. Good luck trying to pick which of this year’s top5 will stay there!

Note1; calculating Expt Wins

Using the All Ireland final as an example. Paddy Power’s odds for the game were Dublin 4/9, Mayo 3/1 with the draw being 9/1. All that these fractional odds are is another way of expressing probabilities. To work out the probability any odds equate to you use the following formula (B/ (A+B)). For Dublin’s 4/9 the B here = 9 and the A = 4 so the probability of a Dublin win = (9/ (4+9)) which equals 0.692 or 69.2%. Do this for all three odds and you get

Dublin = (9/ (4+9)) = 69.2%
Mayo = (1/ (1+3)) = 25.0%
Draw = (1/ (1+9)) = 10.0%

The total percentages add up to 104.2%. Now we know that there are only the three outcomes for any game – team1 wins, team2 wins and draw – so anything above 100% for these three outcomes is the bookmaker’s margin. To get a truer understanding of the probabilities we strip out the margin equally across the three outcomes and come up with an Expt Win for each team. Dublin in this instance = 67.8% or 0.678 (69.2%-((104.2%-100%)/3)); Mayo = 23.6% or 0.236 (25.0%-((104.2%-100%)/3))

Note2; the odds
All odds are taken from Paddy Power and tend to be taken towards the back end of the week (Friday night/Saturday morning) to let any movements settle down. It is possible that injury news etc. changes the odds between what was taken and what they were at throw in but I’m comfortable enough that this would be a rare enough occurrence not to have too big an impact.


Kildare V Louth 2013

July 19, 2013

Kildare-Louth was not on the TV but Brendan Coffey (@coffeybrendan on Twitter) of the Kildare Nationalist very kindly forwarded the stats from the game. So as a precursor to the Kildare-Tyrone game please find Brendan’s analysis here


Team Possessions Shots Shot Rate Scores Success Rate
Kildare 49 35 71% 20 57%
Louth 37 28 76% 15 54%
2012 avg 35.28 27.02 76.6% 13.96 51.67%

On the face of it Kildare enjoyed a comfortable win against Louth but just like their previous game against Dublin, the scoreline didn’t reveal how lucky the Lilies were in both games.

In their Leinster semi-final, a 16-point defeat was bad but not as bad as it could have been for Kildare considering the 16 goal chances Dublin had in that game. It was also telling that after taking an early five-point lead, Kildare lost the remaining 60 minutes by 21 points. While Kildare managed to get the right side of the scoreline against Louth, their seven point winning margin did not reflect the difficulties they had for three-quarters of the game.

With ten minutes left the sides were level at 15 points each but Kildare scored an unanswered 1-5 in the final 11 minutes to leave Newbridge with the win. However, take out that final flurry and you see another worrying trend for the Lilies.

For a team that enjoys so much possession in games thanks to a strong midfield and a reliable kickout strategy, Kildare are struggling to make the most of all that ball. Their shot rate against Louth (71%) was well behind their opponents (76%), who had 12 less attacks than Kildare.

Before Kildare went on that free-scoring roll late in the second half, their shot rate was 69%, which was worryingly similar to their shot rate against Dublin, which was also under 70%. To the naked eye, Kildare struggle when they have to recycle the ball up front – unless they get their shot away with the first wave of attackers, they seem unable to unlock the opposition’s defence when the support players come from deep.

With players like Padraig O’Neill and Daryl Flynn in their midfield – both of whom scored long-range points from play against Louth – this shouldn’t be as big a problem as it is for Kildare.
Kildare didn’t have this problem in the league – in the league semi-final against Tyrone they had a shot rate of 85% and it was their inaccuracy that let them down. Similarly when the sides met earlier in the league at Newbridge, Kildare’s attack managed 38 shots – 24 in the second half which included an incredible 17 misses – and lost by six points to a Tyrone team that scored 1-13 from 28 shots.

At the back there are worrying signs too. Dublin’s shot rate was 82 per cent against Kildare while Offaly and Louth had shot rates in the mid-70s. Kildare are giving up too many chances, even against inferior opposition. Against a defence as mean as Donegal’s, Tyrone managed a 78% shot rate so it’s clear they’ll get plenty of chances this weekend

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success Rate
Kildare 27 16 59%
Louth 20 12 60%
2012 team avgs 20.14 9.36 46.5%

Both sides were impressive from play in what was a very open and entertaining game of football. Again Kildare will be concerned about their opponent’s success from play although a lot of that was down to a phenomenal display from Louth’s Ciaran Byrne, who kicked five points from play and was four from four in the first half. A number of those shots were kicked under extreme pressure so the Kildare defence will have escaped censure during their video analysis earlier this week.

(N.B. Byrne’s shooting (5/7 from play) against Kildare will be long forgotten come September but it’s worth noting his performance his as a real highlight of the championship).
Kildare’s Eoghan O’Flaherty is growing in importance to the team. He was one of the few players to come out of the Dublin game with credit and his returns from play this year have been excellent. He kicked four from five against Offaly, two from four against Dublin and three from four against Louth, including a sublime effort off the outside of his right foot on the right wing in the final minute of last Saturday’s qualifier game.

Scoring goals was not a problem for Kildare in the National League but the green flags have dried up in the championship. 12 goals in eight league games was a superb return against Division 1 opposition but they’ve only netted two from their three championship games to date.

Full-forward Tomas O’Connor was a huge factor in a lot of those league goals but after a disappointing performance against Offaly – his two clearcut goal chances were saved – he was dropped for the Dublin game. It’s clear that Kieran McGeeney faces a dilemma with O’Connor – he makes goal chances but misses too many. Brought in as a sub against Louth in the 31st minute, four minutes later he had a shot at goal saved by Shane McCoy.

However O’Connor eventually came good in the 66th minute when he rounded McCoy for his first goal of the championship at the fourth attempt. What was interesting about his goal, as opposed to the other three chances he’s had this year, is that the chance came about by accident rather than design.

Whereas O’Connor was put through on goal by deliberate attacking moves for his first three attempts, his goal resulted from a poor attempt at a point by Alan Smith. Smith’s shot ballooned up into the air and it was O’Connor’s persistence – and considerable frame – that allowed him to gather the ball before using his strength to get past McCoy.

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success Rate
J Doyle (Kildare) 2 2 100%
E O’Flaherty (Kildare) 1 0 0%
M Conway (Kildare) 5 2 40%
2012 team avgs 6.88 4.6 66.9%

Free-taking is another concern for Kildare. Mikey Conway was recalled for the Louth game and handed responsibility for deadballs but with just two from five, he was withdrawn after 42 minutes. John Doyle had sole responsibility against Offaly and hit a decent return (4/6) but his form collapsed against Dublin, where he missed one from the 20-metre line in front of the posts, not far from the right-hand upright. He remains Kildare’s best option though and landed a spectacular free from long-range against Louth to begin their late scoring rally.

Dublin Vs Louth

June 5, 2012
Team Possessions Shots Shot Rate Scores Success Rate Return Vs Expected
Dublin 53 42 79% 24 57% +1.63
Louth 31 27 87% 12 44% -4.11
avg 41.8 28.3 67.7% 14.1 49.8% 0.00

Louth were atrocious. An expected return of -4.11 is by far the worst we have seen to date. The bare numbers above, whilst damning in themselves, don’t do justice to just how poor they were. In the first half, when the game was, well, a game, Louth had an anaemic 12 possessions. In 35 minutes of football Louth had control of the football just 12 times inside the Dublin 45m line. As bad as that possession rate is they had a 27% success rate, with an expected return of -3.80, from the shots they took. Very very poor.

Overall, unlike Antrim (in the Monaghan game), they didn’t take on extremely hard shots from around the 45m line. A success rate of 44%, just about average, shows that these were not “hit and hope” shots but rather shots from “getable” ranges. The expected return of -4.11 shows that they were just poorly executed.

From play

Team Shots Scores Success Rate Vs Expected
Dublin 35 21 60% +3.45
Louth 18 4 22% -4.36
avg 21.1 9.3 44.0% 0.00

From deadballs

Team Shots Scores Success Rate Vs Expected
S Cluxton (Dub) 4 2 50% -0.78
B Brogan (Dub) 3 1 33% -1.04
D Clarke (Ant) 9 8 89% +0.25
game avgs 7.3 4.8 66.5% 0.00

Again, without laboring the point, Louth’s shooting from play was terrible.

So what of the Champions? The outing was satisfactoy; Dublin’s shooting from play was excellent (mainly due to Bernard Brogan – see below) though if there was to be one area of concern it would be their deadball striking. Brogan missed a proverbial “sitter” from in front of the posts whilst Cluxton’s 50% from long range, whilst seemingly adequate, was in fact quite poor (as can be seen from the negative return). In bigger, tighter, games they will need to perform better.

Clarke is an excellent free taker, but the sideline apart, he was expected to get the frees he did

Players with >= 3 shots from play

Shots Scores Success Rate Vs Expected
B Brogan (Dub) 7 6 86% +2.29
D Connolly (Dub) 7 3 43% -0.56
K McManamon (Dub) 7 3 43% -0.70
A Brogan (Dub) 4 2 50% +0.08
P Flynn (Dub) 3 2 67% +0.80
A Reid (Lou) 3 1 33% -0.36
D Bastick (Dub) 3 1 33% -0.42
R Carroll (Lou) 3 1 33% -0.45
P Keenan(Lou) 3 0 0% -1.77

It doesn’t get much better than that for Bernard Brogan. Rusty? If that’s him rusty then he’s in line for a better year than 2010. He is just an exceptional striker of the ball.

What Dublin need to monitor however is the supporting cast; in 2010 the only player who lent him any sort of support was Brian Cullen (note Cullen hit 2 from 2 yesterday as well). The table below shows just how poor the surrounding cast was back in 2010 (over 6 charted games).

Shots Scores Success Rate Vs Expected
B Brogan 47 28 60% +6.92
A Brogan 30 10 33% -2.90
E O’Gara 19 5 26% -4.70
C Keaney 11 2 18% -2.41
B Cullen 10 7 70% +2.81
P Flynn 9 3 33% -0.84
K McManamon 8 3 38% -1.10

It is not Bernard Brogan that Dublin supporters need to fret over – it is whether McManamon, Connolly, Alan Brogan, Flynn & O’Gara can keep up and provide the necessary support over the coming months.