Tipperary v Cork : Some Visuals and Numbers

As much as last weekend’s game has been done to death I thought I’d put up some numbers and visuals I have from the Tipperary Cork shootout.

I want to pre-empt sweeping conclusions by saying:

Too much is read into single game results

Tipperary are not suddenly rubbish, Cork are not the second coming. With minutes left Tipperary led. Cork scored a bit and the whistle went, suddenly everything Cork did was correct and everything Tipperary did was crap. The true review is that Tipperary v Cork didn’t meet our expectations – (Tipp win by enough, Cork look better than last year but a work in progress). Because our expectations failed we feel the need to reassess EVERYTHING.

Average Positions

Here is a little visual I have been messing around with over the past while. I have added x,y co-ordinates to my work using Dartfish and plotted the work using this video.

With that info I have plotted every touch, challenge or shot taken by each player. With that my logic is that I have the co-ordinates of everywhere a player was in close contact with the sliotar.

Using this info I can try to give an average position of each player in the match.

This shows a general picture of where the players were based. The main balance you see, which seemed to fit the match was – Cork kept a tighter defence. From Cooper & Fitzgibbon back to Cahalane is all within the Cork 65. Tipp’s midfield was more stretched from the half backs.

This visual does have limitations:

  • Players change position – Breen went from centre forward to midfield, Noel McGrath seemed to play as a third midfielder in the second half.
  • Players cross the field from wing to wing – this has the average position looking like they played in the middle (I am trying to learn better data analytics to overcome this).

Area Covered

Using the xy co-ordinates mentioned in the previous section you can look at the general area covered by a player. If you take the standard deviations (or standard distance) they were from their main position you can calculate an area that they covered as they moved.

This table seems to show that Cork’s forwards covered the most area for their team. Seamus Harnedy covered an average area of 95 sqm as he moved between being a full forward running to the corners, to being a left half forward taking on Seamus Kennedy.

Grouping players by their positions you can see at the bottom of the table above that Cork’s Forwards and Tipp’s midfield covered more ground than their other lines.

Long Ball Direction

The teams took different approaches to attacking the opposition full back line.

The chart below shows the long balls hit by Tipp in play. The blue dots are where they struck the ball and the yellow dots show where they landed. It is quite clear Tipp targeted, their usual spot, the right corner forward area. Callanan is quite adept at moving into this space to score. John McGrath likes to vacate the area to allow for this.

Cork on the other hand were varied in their long strikes. The chart below shows the landing position of long strikes in white dots. They hit ball into both corners for Cadogan and Harnedy and also hitting a few strikes at the heart of the Tipp defence.

Other Numbers

  1. John O Dwyer did not have the sliotar after the 44th minute
  2. Michael Breen had no possessions from the 50th minute to the 71st.
  3. Noel McGrath and Michael Breen caused the most turnovers in the game with 4 each.
  4. In the first half teams hit the ball long (clearances and balls into forwards) 35 times – in the second half it was 65 times – a game of tennis broke out.

Note these numbers are from my tagging of the game (so differences may occur with other reports)

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