Pettitts SHC Final 2017 Preview – Oulart-The Ballagh v St Martins

This weekend sees the most hotly contested county final in recent memory. Oulart, the dominant, stylish force that has dominated Wexford hurling for an age, face the rising tide of St Martins. This has been a battle marked in most peoples calendar since the turn of the year and was made even more mouth-watering after the opening day battle in Bellefield.

Possible Line Ups

Above is my guess at how both teams will set up. Two very different styles of teams, two serious line-ups.

Oulart’s Defence v Martin’s Attack

Watching Oulart play the Rapparees in the semi-final was like watching Oulart any time under Frank Flannery. They possess a consistent, smart game plan that has annihilated dozens of teams over the past number of seasons. Flannery works on the basis of a strong, solid defence. Like a boa constrictor they tighten slowly as the game goes on, making space to attack like gold dust.

Q1 – How will Oulart deal with St Martins movement and maintain their tight defensive shape?

Oulart will look to try and hold a tight back eight on Sunday but they face a Martin’s attack that is based on pace and movement. The Rapparees offered a similar level of pace in attack in the semi-final but their movement was nothing like St Martins. Joe O Connor at full forward won’t stand still to be marked and will try and drag the Oulart backs out causing confusion, this caused Benny Travers, a quality full-back, and Gorey a serious headache.

St Martins have serious movement work done under Charlie Carter, they cluster and then explode out to confuse backs. Their natural movement is out the field, leaving few inside the full back area, somewhere Keith Rossiter is most comfortable. Can Oulart follow and allow inside space?  Will the young legs of St Martins be punishing?

Q2 – How will St Martins cope if Rory O Connor doesn’t score?

Above shows the scoring from play of the Martins team in 2017. Clearly Rory O Connor is their star performer. Joe O Connor has had a quietly impressive year but Tomas Codd has been scratching his head over his best forward line. St Martins are generating but not converting a large number of shots. What’s most telling is the distance from goal of these shots – St Martins do not possess an inside line that gets goals. With 6 goals from 7 games St Martins are a 3-point shooting team in NBA terms.

Jack O Connor has been airlifted into attack to try offer a better inside threat but despite trying many various players (all with huge potential), St Martins do not have a forward line that scores freely. I would nearly argue that St Martins forwards are more comfortable tackling and pressing, where they excel. If Rory O Connor was to be shut-down by Oulart then this question will need to be answered. Frank Flannery will have one key defensive plan – Stop Rory!

Martins Defence V Oulart Attack

In attack Oulart have the one-man-force that is Garrett Sinnott, the best club hurler in Wexford for quite a while. Paddy O Connor was red-carded for dragging him down in the first game and Oulart will sure look to test out the Martins full back line. Sinnott catches high ball for fun and has quick hands to involve Kirwan.

Q3 – Will Oulart get quality ball into Sinnott?

Where I see a major deciding factor is in how Oulart get the ball into Sinnott. St Martins forwards and midfield are extremely hard working. Led by Jake Firman and Mark Maloney they show incredible energy in shutting down quality clearances. The Oulart half back line and midfield (including Rory Jacob) will be put under immense pressure. In the semi final Conor McDonald was starved of quality ball as St Martins found the best way to stop a threat is at source.

Oulart are no rabbits in the headlights, they are smart, skilfull and experienced. St Martin’s pressing should be something they are capable of handling. This will be an intriguing part of the final.

Q4 – How hard will Dessie Mythen’s rumoured absence affect Oulart?

With Sinnott inside causing havoc many centre backs have been, understandably, sucked back into helping the full back. This has given Oulart their second threat – Dessie Mythen. One of the smartest hurlers at finding space and exploiting it, Mythen has scored heavily this year (see below).

After apparently picking up a knee injury in the semi final there are many reports saying he will miss the final. How Oulart adapt will be crucial. Oulart will need to exploit any space allowed by St Martins covering Sinnott. David Redmond and Tommy Storey are capable of scoring from range but Dessie Mythen’s movement will be largely missed.

How I See it Going

I think this will be a tight match of a very high standard. I don’t think the bookies odds are fair, Oulart are currently strong favourites but I think this game is hard to call. On one side Oulart have been there and done it  – and probably have a mindset of shutting up the voices that say they are old and fading. On the other side St Martins bring an energy and physicality that Oulart haven’t faced in Wexford too often.

I think for St Martins to win they’ll need to penetrate the Oulart defence with goals. Only driving daggers into the Oulart stronghold will be enough. But I haven’t seen enough of this from St Martins this year, they win with jabs from distance, not power punches. This makes me sway for Oulart to shade it, but only just. Wexford club hurling is clearly rising in standard, this game should show it at it’s very best. Lets hope it’s a classic.

Tipperary SHC 2017 Draw – A ranking view

The draw was made on Monday night for the 2017 Tipperary SHC and the 8 groups for the first round of the Championship have been set. Using the year end rankings I thought I’d look at how the draw went and who can we expect to progress from each group.

Roinn 1

The group that stands out immediately is Group 3 which sees three of the top seven ranked teams fight it out for the two spots in the next round. Carrick Swans have been dealt a tough hand. Sars would expect to find a way out of the group in their drive for a 4-in-a-row so the Nenagh Eire-Og match up with Kilruane will be crucial.

Group 1 sees 4 teams all ranked in the Top 13 at the end of last year. Kiladangan have been on a hot streak winning 15 of their last 18 SHC matches ending with a county final appearance. Borris-Ileigh and Loughmore both exited at the Preliminary Quarter Final stage. Upperchurch exited the last 2 championships in defeats to  Loughmore and Kiladangan so they will be up against it to try to qualify from this group.

Group 2 appears to be lopsided with 2 strong teams grouped with 2 teams ranked much lower. Drom & Inch and Clonoulty would look to be hot favourites to qualify from this group. Portroe finished 2016 with defeats to both Clonoulty and Ballina so they will be looking to overhaul those defeats. Drom & Inch started their 2016 group with 2 draws and will look to start faster this year.

Group 4 sees the match up of the cream of the South with Mullinahone and Killenaule being the 2 highest ranked teams in a tight group. They have matched up in the last 3 South Finals with Mullinahone holding a 2-1 win record. Eire-Og Annacarty will be looking to make amends for a disappointing 2016 while Burgess have only won 2 of their last 12 SHC games.

Roinn 2

Roinn 2 sees very even groups based on the rankings. Groups 3 & 4 have grouped teams from the bottom of the rankings. Group 3 especially sees a dog-fight between 3 of the 4 lowest ranked teams remaining from 2016. JK Brackens fell hard from Roinn 1 losing heavily but have ability, shown in their only highlight form last season – a draw with 3rd ranked Drom & Inch. Clonakenny will be hoping to avoid second season syndrome after safely negotiating their first year in Senior.

Group 4 sees a tight group per the rankings. Knockavilla squeezed through the relegation battle in 2016 with 2 draws and a win. Lorrha lost all 3 games last year in Roinn 1 before suffering a 16 point loss in the North Championship. The biggest noise surrounding these rankings last year was the low ranking of Lorrha so maybe we should expect them to be the team to beat in this group despite their current ranking.

Group 1 sees Newport step up to the Senior rankings in what looks like a tough group. Toomevara won one game in 2016, which came against a relegated team, and will need to dig deep to climb back to their yester-years in Roinn 1. Roscrea fell from Roinn 1 last year despite not being outplayed in 2 of their group games. They will be looking to 2015 form which saw them win their Roinn 2 group. Ballingarry lost by 17 points to Tommevara in 2015 but showed consistent performances last year in matches against Roinn 1 teams in the South Championship so they may make this an extremely competitive group.

Group 2 includes Silvermines who avoided relegation last year after losing all 3 Roinn 2 group games. Templederry look to be the strong team in this group. They pushed county finalists Kiladangan to 4 points last year in Roinn 1 and followed this up by beating 5th-ranked Nenagh Eire Og in the North Championship.  Moycarkey beat Kiladangan in 2015 but fell from a tough Roinn 1 group and did not find enough to jump back up in 2016. They ended the year with a heavy defeat to Loughmore but may be the dark horse of this group.

 

Notes:

This preview is written based purely on results in prior years. Any discussion or input from Tipp fans is more than welcome!

The Cody Era – The Numbers – Part 2

This is a continuation of my look into the 18 season management of Kilkenny by the legend that is Brian Cody.

You can read about his most capped players and his love for substituting the brave corner forwards in Part 1 HERE

The Importance of Michael Fennelly

Next I thought I’d look at what the Americans called the “winningest” players under Cody. Hurlers with the highest Win Rate in the past 18 season (League & Championship).

winners

From this table you can see that the loss of Michael Fennelly to Kilkenny for this years All Ireland Final was substantial. He is the “winningest” player under Cody at an incredible 86% win rate. The only hurler currently active to make the Top 20. Joey Holden at 21st is the next highest ranked active hurler.

Cody’s trusted selectors James McGarry and Derek Lyng both make the list, showing Cody knows his winners well. It is incredible to see that Kavanagh, Shefflin & Brennan had an 80% win rate over 100+ games played.

Winter Plodders vs Summer Hurlers

Much like the horse racing season there is a time for your tough plodding stayers in the mud of winter and there is a time for your thoroughbred stars in the glorious sun of the summer.

Cody’s selection is no different. I took the list of hurlers with more than 30 appearances under Cody and compared how many league games they played compared to their championship appearances.

During Cody’s era he has led Kilkenny into 130 NHL matches and 84 Championship games. The average split of League to Championship is around 60:40.

Just as a quick example the table below shows the average and the two extremes. Willie O Dwyer was a League man for Cody, making 70% of his appearances in the league. On the other hand it is King Henry who was brought out when the sun shone and the big shiny cup was there to be won. Shefflin played 56% of his games in the Championship.

nhl-to-shc-split

The full list of splits for hurlers with more than 30 appearances is shown below. Eoin Larkin, DJ Carey and Cillian Buckley are the three alongside Shefflin who have appeared in more Championship matches than league matches.

nhl-split

Canice Hickey (Dunnamaggin) and Michael Grace (Rower/Inistioge) both played 12 NHL games without a SHC appearance.

 

Club Preference

Below is a table of the Number of Appearances made by each club under Cody’s reign.

apps-by-club

Unsurprisingly Ballyhale Shamrocks (Shefflin, Reids, Fennellys) and James Stephens (incl. Tyrell & Larkin) have topped the table with the most selections. the list shows how exhaustive a search Cody has made with 30 clubs providing players.

(I have tried to find the right club for each player  (searching yearbooks and websites) so if any club feels under-represented please let me know.)

 

Players Per Club

Below is the table showing how many players from each club were picked by Cody in 18 seasons.

hurlers-by-club

Kilkenny have failed to field a James Stephens hurler on only 6 occasions in 214 of Cody’s matches and on 4 of those occasions, in early 2005, James Stephens were contesting the All Ireland Club Championship! From the period 26 Feb 2006 to 30 March 2014 (99 Games, over 8 years) Kilkenny had a James Stephens man selected in every match.

Ballyhale have had a representative in 194 of the 214 matches.

Only three clubs – James Stephens, Ballyhale Shamrocks & O Loughlin Gaels have had a representative in the Kilkenny colours in all 18 seasons. 2016 was the first season Dunnamaggin had no representative.

Possibly More to Come?

I will aim to delve further into the numbers, if I find any more worthwhile info I may squeeze a third post.

We need to talk about Work Rate

GAA is obsessed with Work Rate. It is probably the single greatest point raised by coaches, pundits and fans when assessing a team’s performance. How often are we told that the winning team had incredible “Work Rate”, how many dressing rooms have been told to “up their Work Rate”?

But what do we mean? What is Work Rate?

As a hurling man I know it is usually based on the holy trinity of Hooks, Blocks and Tackles (I’m sure teams may add in rucks won, etc). Without these three fundamental principles a team cannot win. I don’t disagree with this principle, in theory.

What I do think we need to talk about is: using a straight count of Hooks, Blocks & Tackles as a measure of Work Rate.

How do we assess a rugby performance – Tackles Made? No.
When Ireland recently beat Canada 52 to 21, Ireland made 101 tackles, Canada made 172. Is this a reflection that Canada showed a much higher work rate?

The top three tacklers in the Premier League at the moment – 1. Burnley, 2. Hull, 3. Middlesbrough. Are these teams showing more “Work Rate” than the others?

My opinion, based on analysis done on dozens of hurling games, is that:
We need to focus more on the logic behind “Work Rate”

My Logic

  • You can only tackle the opposition player when he has possession
  • If one team has more possession of the ball then there are more opportunities to tackle them.

For example – Tipperary play Kilkenny in the 2017 NHL.

  • Tipperary have 20 Hooks, Blocks and Tackles
  • Kilkenny have 40 Hooks, Blocks and Tackles

Kilkenny have shown the higher work rate? My argument is that this simple measure is flawed.

Say Kilkenny had 100 possessions of the ball and Tipperary had 200 possessions of the ball – are we still of the same opinion?

Kilkenny had made 40 hooks, blocks and tackles on Tipperary’s 200 possessions – i.e. Tipperary have been tackled for every 5 possessions they held (200/40).

Tipperary meanwhile have had made 20 hooks, blocks and tackles on Kilkenny’s 100 possessions – i.e Kilkenny have been tackled for every 5 possessions they held (100/20).

So both teams have tackled each other for every 5 possessions the other team had. Equal “Work Rate”. Not simply Hooks/Blocks/Tackles showing 40 v 20 as most basic statistics will show.

 

A Better Measure of Work Rate

Work already printed by Colin Trainor in Statsbomb has created a measure to show that the quantity of tackles made by a team can only be relevant to the passes of the opposition – his measure PPDA is calculated by:

PPDA = Number of Passes made by Attacking Team / Number of Defensive Actions

We can amend this formula to meet the differences in style between hurling and soccer. A defensive action in hurling would obviously be – Hooks, Blocks and Tackles. Number of Passes in hurling is not a major factor, possession of the sliotar would be an arguably equivalent measure.

Hurling PPDA = Number of Possessions by Attacking team / Number of Defensive Actions

or

Possessions of Team A / (Hooks + Blocks + Tackles by Team B)

This, for me, is a basic starting point in calculating “Work Rate”.

This is not an ideal complete measure, but telling a team it “allowed 4 possessions for every tackle” is more relevant than telling they made 5 hooks. It is a measure that can be compared to any other match.

 

Optional Improvement – Add in Location

Based on the Hurling PPDA two measures should be recorded post-match:
1. Possessions by Location
2. Hooks/Blocks/Tackles

With one extra note of detail when collecting the measure we can have a much more incisive measure, if we also note the location of both counts then we have an even better measure.

We can now split the pitch into say three segments for location:

pitch-zones

Now when we calculate the Work Rate we can refine it to cover the 3 areas of the pitch. This can tell us, for example, how much pressure our forwards applied inside their 45:
Opposition Possessions in Area 3/ Our Hooks, Blocks,Tackles in Area 3

Training can be made to focus on real areas of weakness based on this measure.

 

Optional Improvement – Add in Time

Noting the time of each possession and hook/block/tackle can allow us to further understand if our team dropped their “Work Rate” over a certain period of the match – (Personally I have broken the match into 6 equal time segments with 12 minutes each taking injury time into account). Does the Hurling PPDA drop for the last time segment? Does the team maintain an average Hurling PPDA throughout the 6 time segments, are we consistent?

 

Conclusion

This post was written to try and open a debate on how we calculate the obsessive term “Work Rate”. It’s a very basic and simple idea but it is aimed at opening a discussion. I could only cover so much detail in one post. Other elements such as the quality of tackle and effect of tackle which can be weighted in the calculation.

I would love some responses from analysts or hurlers about their experience of the “Work Rate” obsession.

I understand that a coaches intention is to get his team to increase their tackling numbers so that they battle harder but I can only imagine that player must find it hard to listen to a tackle number being low when they have been in control of the sliotar.

 

 

Tony Kelly’s performance against Glen Rovers

Tony Kelly played a major role in Ballyea’s Muster success. His legend continues to grow at the age of 23! I thought I’d have a look at his performance in detail.

Shooting

Kelly scored 5 points from play against Glen Rovers. A huge score for the average hurler from play but just another Semple Stadium performance for Kelly. I have mapped his shots below:

tony-kelly-shooting

Looking at the shot map you can see Kelly will not be happy with his distance shooting. His scores came from possession collected between midfield and the 45, where he ran at the Glen Rovers attack like the score below:

Source – GAA Beo TG4

Possessions

Sometimes it feels like when you watch a match with Kelly that he is everywhere and Sunday certainly felt like that. Kelly played in midfield and covered a huge amount of ground. The pitch below shows each time in the match where he received initial possession on the field.

tony-kelly-possessions

You can clearly see that Kelly covered both sides of midfield but also played a huge role in defence. He picked up the ball 9 times deep inside his own 65. Kelly rarely ventured into the opposition 45 looking for ball as you can see from his single possession inside the Glen Rovers 45, his role was grounded in covering midfield and defence.

It also should be noted his 20 possessions came despite having few Glen Rover’s puckouts sent in his direction.

Effectiveness

Possessions are a meaningless statistic unless you look deeper into how effectively someone used the sliotar.

tony-kelly-numbers

The numbers above show that Kelly’s 20 possessions led to 10 shots for Ballyea – 8 from Kelly and 2 scoring assists. With Kelly’s 5 points and 2 scoring assists he had a direct contribution to 7 of Ballyea’s 22 scores. This was a very effective performance by Tony Kelly.

Tekkers

Finally the important side – the tekkers. What was most exciting of all was the skills shown by Kelly on one of the biggest stages in hurling. Who says November is a tough time to hurl…

Source – GAA Beo TG4

I think I’ll leave the final say on Kelly’s performance to Austin Gleeson:

 


 

O Loughlin Gaels dethrone Oulart-The Ballagh

Wexford Park saw a re-enactment of the film Cocoon as Martin Comerford showed us that 38 is the new 23. Taking fearless shots and scoring points Tony Kelly would have been proud of.

The final score showed O Loughlin Gaels ran away with this match by a score of 3-17 to 0-17 but there were some key reasons for this victory.

Key Reason 1 : 12 Minutes of Gael’s Dominance

Once the match resumed in the second half, Oulart pulled 2 points back and it seemed we were due a dogfight to the finish between two serious outfits. But a 12 minute period saw the match blown apart.

The scoring timeline below shows the period where O Loughlin Gaels took control:

scoring-timeline

From the 36th minute to the 48th minute O Loughlin Gaels scored 1-7 without reply. In this period Kilkenny men took 11 shots to Oulart’s 1.

O Loughlin Gaels shooting standards were excellent in this period.olg-shooting-36-to-47

Paddy Deegan’s monster left-sided points were followed by Martin Comerford’s exquisite point from the right sideline. These took the match away from Oulart.

(Video Source – TG4 – GAA Beo)

O Loughlin Gaels showed their ruthless side and hit Oulart hard when they were reeling.

Key Reason 2: Oulart’s Lack of Bite

Another key reason for the result was Oulart’s lack of goal-scoring chances. This website has mentioned previously that the only 2 occasions when Oulart lost in Wexford over the past 6 seasons has been when they failed to score a goal. Apart from the last 10 minutes scramble for a goal Oulart failed to create any goal chances. The scoring chart below shows that Oulart had no shots inside the red-zone.

oulart-shooting-1st-50-mins

In total Oulart scored 17 points from 25 shots. A very high scoring rate. But given their own errors, mentioned below, they gave themselves a deficit that needed them to score goals to have any chance of winning.

Huge credit must be given to the O Loughlin Gaels back 6 as few clubs have managed to handle the movement of Kirwan, Mythen and Jacob mixed with the strength and skill of Sinnott. It is a rare sight to see Oulart fail to open up the full back line, but they never looked dangerous against the Kilkenny backs.

Key Reason 3: Oulart’s Mistakes

At two key points in the game Oulart gave O Loughlin Gaels huge initiative. It is hard to focus on two errors from a team that has proven themselves on too many big days, but a review of the game cannot be complete without covering the two mistakes.

In the 19th minute a Mark Bergin shot from 65m dropped into the net past goalkeeper Conor O Leary, which gave O Loughlin Gaels a huge jump back into a match they had been trailing by 0-9 to 1-1.

In the most bizarre moment of the match, at the 37 minute mark, Sammy Johnston capitalised on an overshot handpass by Anthony Roche that ran straight through to the Kilkenny forward 35 metres from goal. When Johnston collected the ball there were no Oulart defenders between him and the Oulart keeper. He ran through and buried his chance, which opened the door for the Gaels avalanche of scoring.

(Video Source – TG4 – GAA Beo)

Where to Next?

O Loughlin Gaels head on to play Cuala of Dublin in the Leinster Final. Cuala have a very strong contingent with 9 Dublin hurlers in their first XV along with Con O Callaghan an under 21 footballer with the county who scored 1-3 in the semi final. A tough battle lies ahead but O Loughlin Gaels have now beaten the past 2 Leinster champions (Ballyhale Shamrocks and Oulart-The Ballagh) in back-to-back games so they should have no doubts over their ability to win Leinster.

 

 

 

Provincial Club Hurling Championships – The Past 10 Years

With the provincial club hurling championships already underway in Ulster and nearing it’s start in Leinster & Munster I thought I’d take a look at the past decade of provincial championships to see how each county’s champions had performed.

Munster Club Championship

The past decade of results within the Munster Club Championship is shown below:

munster-club-champions

The table shows that Limerick’s champions have been the best performers in Munster. Recently they have started to dominate Munster winning the past 3 titles. Limerick City side, Na Piarsaigh have won 3 of the past 5 Munster Club titles.

On the other side of the table you see Clare and Cork with the poorest records. The champions of Cork have now gone SIX seasons without a single win, the last Cork club to win a Munster Club Championship match was Newtownshandrum in 2009.

Clare on the other hand have now gone 16 years without a Munster club title. Crusheen came closest to banishing this famine when they lost a Munster Final replay in 2012 to Na Piarsaigh. Interestingly, the Clare county championship has been the most open of all Munster Club Championships over the past decade with 7 different winners in 10 years, whereas the Limerick county championship has seen Na Piarsaigh, Killmallock and Adare all win 3 county titles in the past 9 years. Does this lack of dominance in the Clare Championship lead to a lack of strength in the Munster Championship?

Leinster Club Championship

leinster-club-champions

Unlike the inter-county scene, Leinster has seen a decade of competitive provincial battles. Kilkenny and Offaly have won the most titles and Wexford’s Oulart the Ballagh have won through to five provincial finals in the past six years, losing four before finally succeeding in last years final.

Mount Leinster Rangers’ win in 2013 was a phenomenal achievement for Carlow hurling. Their win in 2013 is surprisingly the only time a Carlow club has won a provincial club match in the past decade.

Dublin has failed to produce a club to win a Leinster title in the past 36 years. Crumlin’s win in 1979 remains their sole success. Only Ballyboden (2007) and Cuala (2015) have reached the provincial final in the past 10 years.

Offaly’s inter-county demise has not been reflected in the club scene. Birr, Kilcormac/Killoughey and Coolderry have all taken the provincial title in the past 10 years. In the past 10 seasons Offaly Champions have won matches away to Dublin Champions three times, turned over the Wexford Champions in Wexford Park in 2014 and even beaten Ballyhale in Nowlan Park. Club hurling in Offaly is alive and well.

The Laois champions’ dismal performance is quite surprising as they have been competitive in inter-county hurling in recent years. It is quite shocking to see that Rathdowney-Errill’s win in 2013 over Westmeath’s Clonkill was their only win in Leinster in the past 10 years. Rathdowney-Errill came close to a major win against Kilmacud Crokes in 2015 losing by a single point. Camross also nearly upset the then Dublin Champions, Ballyboden St Endas, in 2007, losing by a single point.

Ulster Club Championship

ulster-club-champions

Unsurprisingly the Antrim champions have been the team to beat in the Ulster Club Championship. Portaferry (Down) secured a huge victory in 2014 when they beat Cushendall by 8 points to win their first Ulster title. Slaughtneil of Derry had also taken Cushendall to a replay that season.

Kevin Lynch’s of Dungiven, Derry had also taken Cushendall to a Ulster Club replay in 2006, the only other occasion in the past 10 seasons where the Antrim Champions failed to win out.

Wexford SHC 2016: Top Scorers – Kirwan is King

Oulart-The Ballagh once again prevailed as the Pettits Senior Hurling Champions with their 10th title in 13 seasons – an unbelievable achievement. With Oulart now moving onto face the Offaly champions I thought I’d have a look back over the scoring charts for 2016.

top-combined-scorer

The table above shows the top scorers (from play and frees) for 2016.

Nicky Kirwan hung onto the top spot despite exiting the county final at half time with second place scorer, Harry Kehoe, having 30 extra minutes to try to take the top spot.

Six of the 21 players listed above were part of the Wexford Senior hurling panel in 2016.

Scoring From Play

The table for the top scorers from play also sees Nicky Kirwan topping the county. Garrett Sinnott had held the top spot heading into the semi-final but two goal assists from Sinnott to Kirwan in that match saw Nicky pass out his clubmate and take the top spot.

top-20-from-play

It is encouraging to see two of this year’s county minor hurlers make the top 20 with Rory O Connor (tied 7th) and Connal Flood (tied 14th) making the list.

Seven of the 24 hurlers listed above were part of the Wexford Senior panel in 2016.

Also notable is Ciaran O Connor of Rathnure who finished tied 5th in scoring from play and 6th in overall scoring having played only 5 games. O’Connor played 3 games less than Kirwan (1st) and 2 games less than Sinnott (2nd) & Moore (3rd). O’Connor’s club Rathnure exited the championship at the group stage. Not bad for a 19 year old.

Note: All scores are taken from local newspaper reports.

 

Final Tipperary Senior Hurling Rankings 2016

Following the dominant Thurles Sarsfields three-in-a-row win in yesterdays county final I have updated my rankings for the final time in 2016.

screenshot-2016-10-17-06-47-00

The rankings show clear gaps between Thurles and the rest. On the other end of the rankings 2 of the bottom 3 ranked teams, Moyne-Templetuohy and Moneygall, have dropped to Intermediate.

In the divisional rankings we can see that following those relegations the Mid and North championships have both lost their lowest ranked teams. It may be a temporary reduction in number for the North as Newport (North) are now in the Intermediate County Final, looking to gain promotion.

screenshot-2016-10-17-06-40-40

The final list of biggest movers has seen Thurles Sarsfields jump into the top 5. Their impressive clear win of the county final against the second rank team placed them onto the list of most improved teams.

screenshot-2016-10-17-06-40-53

Silvermines secured their safety in Senior hurling despite the largest drop in ranking points of any club this year. All five of the biggest fallers in 2016 came from the North division.

The Top Gaelic Football Clubs – Home of the All Stars

In the same vein as my look into the clubs that produce All-Stars in hurling I thought it would be interesting to have a look at Gaelic Football.

Which clubs in Gaelic Football have produced the most All-Star footballers? Are there any dual All-Star clubs?

With 675 All-Stars handed out to 400 different footballers since 1971 it’s interesting to see which clubs produce the most All-Star footballers. The table below shows all clubs who have produced 4 All Star footballers or more:

football-all-stars

The initial expectation I had was that Kerry, with 138 All-Stars (next best Dublin with 103) would have the top club, but having omitted divisional sides – focusing on the footballers club of origin, St Vincents and Nemo Rangers stand clear with each having 9 All-Stars footballers.

Templenoe (Kerry) have 13 All-Stars from 3 Spillanes so fail to make the list. Dr Crokes, also in Kerry, have 9 All-Stars, 8 from Gooch Cooper.

In the chart below you can see which decade each club has collected All-Stars.

all-star-football-by-decade

Austin Stacks (Kerry) and St Vincents (Dublin) were very dominant in the 1970’s whereas An Ghaeltacht (Kerry) and Moy Tir Na Nog (Tyrone) collected the vast majority of their All Stars in the 2000’s.

Despite St Vincent’s top ranking they have won one All Star in the past 24 seasons through Diarmuid Connolly. Second place Nemo Rangers have not won an All Star since 1995. The past 15 seasons has seen the rise of Kilmacud Crokes, including three different winners in the past 5 seasons.

Dual Clubs

Twelve clubs have won All-Stars in both hurling and football, an incredible achievement. Six clubs from Cork, 3 Dublin clubs, 2 Offaly clubs and 1 from Laois have won All-Stars in both codes.

dual-clubs

Ray Cummins of Cork won All-Stars with Blackrock hurling club and St Michaels football club in Cork City.

 

Note: Every effort has been made to be accurate in researching the clubs of the All-Star winners (the 70’s was full of transfers during careers). If you feel like your club has been “shafted” please let me know!