Posts Tagged ‘Sligo’

Roscommon v Sligo 2016 Connacht

June 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

Roscommon scoring 4-10 in the second half lends the game to the old “game of two halves” analysis. However whilst the scoreboard was lopsided in Sligo’s favour at half time (2 – 08 to 0 – 06) it was more a case of unsustainable Sligo accuracy – and no little profligacy from Roscommon – rather than anything in the game per se that created this gap.

1st Half

Team Possessions Attacks Shots Scores Exp Pts
Roscommon 27 21 15 0 – 06 10.64
Sligo 24 19 14 2 – 08 9.27

Roscommon had more attacks, one more shot and essentially easier shots than Sligo in that first half. I say easier as Roscommon had an Expt Pts value of ~1.5pts greater than Sligo despite only having that one extra shot. Scoring 2-08 from 14 shots, including 0-08 from 11 point attempts with 3 of those coming from outside the 45, will put a rosy tint on any game plan. But as can be seen from the above table, and the shot charts below, the signs were there. Sligo’s shooting was long range leading to lower Expt Pts. Roscommon’s was closer with 10 attempts from inside the 20m line. In a prelude to what happened in the second half Roscommon had three goal attempts. Unlike the second half they returned nothing from them.

2nd Half

Team Possessions Attacks Shots Scores Exp Pts
Roscommon 31 28 24 4 – 10 17.57
Sligo 21 14 11 0 – 05 5.71

Looking at the 2nd half numbers Sligo – shooting wise – did not fall off. They just returned slightly below what was expected. Where they did fall off was in ceding possession, and ultimately attacks, to Roscommon.

Roscommon had 10 more possessions in that second half and an incredible 14 more attacks. Sligo could not stop Roscommon coming at them in wave after wave. Sligo were at the very least co-authors in their own downfall through poor kick passing – I counted 8 kick passes (& 1 hand pass) going to a Roscommon man – and poor kickouts. Roscommon won seven of Sligo’s 18 kickouts in that second half. This was actually an improvement on the first half when Roscommon won six of Sligo’s nine kickouts. But again the signs were there.

Roscommon shooting

For all that Roscommon still had to use this possession. Their first half shooting was poor however in the second half they had a Dublin-esque seven shots on goal scoring 4-01. It was this that catapulted them ahead of Sligo as their point taking was average; 0-08 from 15 shots (53% Conversion Rate) with an Exp Pts tally of 7.14

We have been underestimating this Roscommon team all year but in the battles to come it is doubtful that they will have such a numerical advantage in terms of possessions & attacks. Can they continue to create this volume of goal attempts (10!! here)? If not can they up their point taking percentages which were average here (Conversion Rate of 48% and a total Exp Pts of -0.25)?


After the league semi final against Kerry I wrote the below paragraph

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.”

I was visibly wincing again here. Roscommon won 86% of their own kickouts however this was entirely due to the nature of those kickouts. The 18 they won all went short. They went past the 45 on three occasions and lost all three. Worse again all three went directly to a wiiiide open Sligo man who was immediately on the attack.

Those three losses happened in the first half in the midst of six shorts ones – two of which landed on Roscommon players under immense pressure. So when the battle was raging Roscommon lost three of their opening nine kickouts in alarming circumstances and won two in an incredibly dangerous fashion.

The flip side of this is that the remaining 12 passed off without any major incident helping them build the possession & attack momentum mentioned earlier. Roscommon scored 1-06 directly from those 12 possessions.

It is the eternal short kickout risk/reward conundrum. We have seen numerous instances of late where short kickouts have gone disastrously wrong. Roscommon play with the tiger’s tail more than most but yesterday it worked out once those early glitches were ironed out. But in games to come what happens when they get a full court press from the opposition? Will they continue to go short under pressure? Sligo got 0-02 here – will an early goal rattle them enough to change?

Roscommon’s kickouts, and what they do when they are confronted with a full press, is definitely one of those moments I am looking forward to in this year’s Championship.


Shot Charts

Roscommon’s shooting

Roscommon shooting (V Sligo 16)

Sligo’s shooting
Sligo shooting (V Rocommon 16)
x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half from play, white = 2nd half, red = goal attempt


Players with >= 3 shots from play

Shots Scores Success Rate Exp Pts
C Devaney (Roscommon) 7 0 – 03 43% 3.86
P Hughes (Sligo) 6 0 – 05 83% 2.28
D Shine (Roscommon) 5 0 – 02 40% 3.61
D Keenan (Roscommon) 4 0 – 03 75% 3.03
C Cregg (Roscommon) 4 0 – 00 0% 2.34
D Smith (Roscommon) 3 0 – 02 67% 2.63
N Murphy (Sligo) 3 0 – 02 67% 1.22

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.

Sligo V Roscommon 2015 Connacht Championship

June 22, 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
Sligo 52 37 71% 28 76% 15 54% +1.531
Roscommon 55 39 71% 28 72% 13 48% -0.801
Avg 37.0 28.7 77.7% 14.7 51.2%

A relatively even set of returns. Though Roscommon had three more possessions (in the main due to their kickout supremacy) both teams transferred the ball into an attack and a subsequent shot at very similar rates. What difference there was came in the form of Sligo’s superior shooting – and the goal.

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success % Weighting
Sligo 22 11 50% +1.599
Roscommon 22 10 45% +0.023
Avgs 21.4 9.7 45.3%

Adrian Marren had an absolute stormer scoring 0–04 from 5 attempts; two each on his left and right and all from outside the 20m line.

Outside of Marren there will be areas of concern. Although the rest of the team’s point attempts were average (44% Conversion Rate with a weighting of -0.126) you get the sense that average wont suffice against Mayo whilst the only goal attempts Sligo created were the penalty and a Kelly snapshot from a rebound. They didn’t really manufacture goal chances.

Roscommon had their Marren in Cathal Cregg who also scored 0-04 from outside the 20m line but none of the other forwards stood up (E Smith & S Kilbride combined for 0-02 from 9 attempts). Whereas Sligo had the two Breheny’s & Hughes contributing 0–02 each Roscommon relied on Cafferky & Daly coming up from the back to bolster their scoring.

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success % Weighting
A Marren (Sligo) 6 4 67% -0.068
C Murtagh (Roscommon) 3 2 67% -0.229
F Cregg (Roscommon) 1 1 100% +0.397
D O’Malley (Roscommon) 1 0 0% -0.389
D Murtagh (Roscommon) 1 0 0% -0.603
team avgs 7.2 4.9 68.7%

Marren’s free taking was below average getting the two close in and converting one of three from >= 35m. His most important contribution was the penalty however. In the last three years ~82% of penalties have been converted however in a weekend when Munnelly missed one for Laois, as did Gollogly for Monaghan, their conversion should never be taken for granted.

Slight bit of a quirk in Roscommon’s deadballs in that they all came from the left. Four players combined for a Conversion Rate of 50% (4 from 6) and a weighting of -0.824. Hindsight is a great thing but in a game when you are behind, and time matters, bringing your goalie up to attempt an outrageously difficult 45 was the not the greatest idea.


Sligo’s kickouts Won % Turned into an attack % Shot %
Sligo 16 64% 10 63% 9 56%
Roscommon 9 36% 5 56% 3 33%
Roscommon’s kickouts Won % Turned into an attack % Shot %
Sligo 4 17% 2 50% 1 25%
Roscommon 19 83% 16 84% 11 58%

Roscommon lorded their own kickouts winning 83%. It could have been even more impressive as they gained possession on 18 of their first 19 kickouts but the introduction of Gilmartin seemed to add some beef to Sligo’s midfield.

Given Roscommon’s dominance it was no surprise to see Sligo going short. Almost one in three (8 of 25) of their kickouts went short whilst Devaney was also very good at finding men when they came open. Sligo won 8 of the 17 kickouts they sent past the 45 – 5 of those 8 were won relatively cleanly.


Team giving up the ball Pass In the Tackle from a Shot Other
Sligo 12 6 1 6
Roscommon 18 5 3 4

Roscommon’s passing was poor with 18 going astray including four passes into the forward line where the forwards lost a contested ball.

Sligo were much neater only giving the ball away in the pass 12 times

Shot Charts

Sligo’s shooting
Sligo shooting (V Roscommon 15)

Roscommon’s shooting
Roscommon shooting (V Sligo 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
C Gregg (Roscommon) 6 4 67% +1.589
E Smith (Roscommon) 6 2 33% -0.538
A Marren (Sligo) 5 4 80% +2.063
M Breheny (Sligo) 4 2 50% +0.398
P Hughes (Sligo) 4 2 50% -0.076
C Breheny (Sligo) 3 2 67% +0.757
D Kelly (Sligo) 3 1 33% -0.422
S Kilbride (Roscommon) 3 0 0% -1.115

Cork V Sligo 2014 Championship

July 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
Cork 44 38 86% 21 55% +2.055
Sligo 35 25 71% 12 48% -0.662
Champ (’12 & ’13 avg) 35.8 27.6 77.2% 14.1 51.0%

An excellent set of numbers from Cork with all the main markers coming in above average. They will also be delighted, from a defensive point of view, that they kept Sligo to a Shot Rate as low as 71%. Sligo had a lot of the ball but were unable to penetrate Cork’s defense in any meaningful way.

Where attacks originated

Opposition k/out Own k/out Ball received in Own 3rd Ball received in Mid 3rd Ball received in Opposition 3rd Other (throw-in, rebound etc.)
Cork 6 13 14 7 1 3
Sligo 2 17 11 2 2 1

Both teams manufactured 19 attacking possessions from kickouts – it was Cork’s ability to (a) create turnovers (or conversely Sligo’s inability to mind the ball) and (b) convert the turnovers they manufactured into shots that ensured Cork had so many more attacks.

Shots from Play

Team Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
Cork 29 15 52% +1.495
Sligo 16 5 31% -1.258
Champ avgs (’12 & ’13) 20.3 9.2 45.4%

Again good accuracy from Cork. Kerrigan was granted man of the match for his industrious performance that resulted in 5 points from play from 10 shots however it is Colm O’Neill’s returns that were the real highlight; 6 from 6 with a weighting of +2.959 which is just behind the weighting achieved by James O’Donoghue against Cork. Add in his deadball accuracy and he had a 100% game (3x frees, 1x 45, 2x points from the right & 4x points from the centre). The only blip was that one of his points was an attempt at goal – but still he at least got the point.

There will come a point when we can adequately judge the quality of the opposition’s defence on a player’s shot attempts however until then the weighting is the best method we have for comparing performances across games. Personally I think Munnelly’s performance against Dublin is the best this year but from a weighting perspective this O’Neill performance, and O’Donoghue’s game against Cork, lead the way.

Speaking of goal attempts Cork only had the two (O’Neill’s & Goulding’s towards the end of the game) from 29 shots. Four times they were close enough to goal to attempt a fisted point (Kerrigan missed one whilst off balance). If that was Dublin they would have looked to recycle the ball and created one if not two goal shots.

Shots from deadballs

Player Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
C O’Neill (Cork) 4 4 100% +1.638
A Walsh (Cork) 3 1 33% -0.757
B Hurley (Cork) 2 1 50% -0.322
A Marren (Sligo) 7 5 71% -0.309
M Breheny (Sligo) 2 2 100% +0.906
team avgs (’12 & ’13 Champ) 7.3 4.9 66.7%

Considering the scoreline was not close for large tracts of the game it might be somewhat surprising that there were 16 shots at goals from frees (2x 45s made up the rest of the deadballs) however this is bang in line with the 2013 average (one free for every 2.8 shots from play).

Looking ahead the spread of those Cork players committing the fouls was wide with only Aidan Walsh (x3) committing more than one foul from which Sligo attempted a shot.

Although Marren had a relatively good Success Rate at 71% the negative weighting indicates that the level of difficulty of those he converted were on the easy side. All 5 were central with only the long range effort just outside the 45 being considered on the difficult side.

Given the deadball talent at their disposal Cork’s long range free taking was below par with Walsh missing two (a long range free & a 45) whilst Hurley also missed a free just outside the 45.

As we have touched on earlier the one bright spark for Cork from deadballs was O’Neill – though even at that his four were relatively central as well.


Team “coughing up” possession Shots from Turnovers %
Cork 25 15 60%
Sligo 33 22 67%


Misplaced Pass Tackled Shots not going dead Other
Cork 11 5 5 4
Sligo 16 6 4 7

Pretty good from Cork. Although there were quite a high volume of turnovers in the game Cork only committed 25 with a high percentage (20%) coming from shots dropping short.

Cork also converted 67% of Sligo’s 33 turnovers to shots. As an overall percentage 67% is just a tad below the best returns but is very respectable.

One point they will want to tidy up on is giving turnovers away in their own half. On three occasions Cork gave Sligo the ball within their own 65. Sligo managed one point from these three turnovers however more clinical teams will be looking to pounce on such lapses.


Cork’s kickouts Won % Turned into a possession % Shot %
Cork 16 80% 13 81% 11 69%
Sligo 4 20% 2 50% 2 50%
Sligo’s kickouts Won % Turned into a possession % Shot %
Cork 9 29% 7 78% 5 56%
Sligo 22 71% 16 73% 11 50%

There was much criticism of Cork’s kickout strategy against Kerry with little variation exhibited when Kerry got on top. In that game Cork’s first five kickouts went long – long – long – long – mid. Here they went short – short – mid – short – mid. A case of change & adapt!

Against Sligo Cork were much more concerned with securing primary possessions from their kickouts than had been the case previously with 50% of all their kickouts going short. Their running & transition game was working effectively so they were able to convert 60% (6 from 10) of these short kickouts to shots.

Of the remaining 10 Cork won 6 getting a shot from 5; Sligo got their hands on four and managed a shot from two of them. Cork will be pleased, considering the attention being placed on this area of their game post the Kerry match, that Sligo only got two shots in the entire game from their kickouts.

What might be of more concern for Cuthbert and his backroom staff will be how they performed on Sligo’s kickouts.

Sligo went short on 9 kickouts. Of the remaining 20 – which should be contestable given that the ball lands outside the 45 – Sligo gained possession on 60% (12 from 20). Their ability to convert that possession to shots was poor (6 shots from those 12 wins) given how far up the pitch they won that possession. Other teams may not be as forgiving.

Shot Charts

Cork’s shooting
Cork shooting (V Sligo)

Sligo’s shooting
Sligo shooting (V Cork)
x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half from play, white = 2nd half from play

Players with >= 2 shots from play

Shots Scores Success Rate Weighting
P Kerrigan (Cork) 10 5 50% -0.194
C O’Neill (Cork) 6 6 100% +2.959
A Marren (Sligo) 5 1 20% -0.863
S Coen (Sligo) 4 2 50% +0.318
A Walsh (Cork) 4 1 25% -0.716
D Hodnett (Cork) 2 1 50% +0.282
M Breheny (Sligo) 2 1 50% +0.215
B Hurley (Cork) 2 0 0% -0.718
P Hughes (Sligo) 2 0 0% -0.785