The Top Table – NHL – Division 1A

With the glorious arrival of the mighty Yellowbellies to the top table of league hurling I thought I’d take a look at the trends in Division 1A and see what dangers await Davy and his men on their quest to belong at the top table.

Fixtures Disadvantage

Division 1A has 6 teams with 5 rounds – which doesn’t compute fairly – 3 teams have 3 home games and 3 teams have 2 home games. This immediately seems unfair – but has it impacted the results in Division 1A ?

The answer appears to be YES!

Over 6 season with this format – 9 of the 12 teams to face the relegation playoff had 2 home games that season! 50% of teams who had 3 away games have been in the relegation playoff – only 16% of teams with 3 home games have played in the playoff.

3 teams play 2 home games this year – Clare, Cork and Wexford (gulp).

Some solace can be taken by last years league when Clare and Dublin both made the relegation playoff despite having 3 home games – previously 9 of the 10 playoff teams had had 2 home games.

Home Advantage

Overall home teams have won 60% of group games in Division 1A with away teams only winning 31% of the time. But which teams are best at hammering home the advantage?

It’s no surprise to see Nowlan Park and Semple Stadium as two tough venues to collect your points. Unfortunately for the new boys, Wexford are the only team who have to travel to both teams in this years League (the odds are really stacked against Davy – no better man).

Waterford are on a poor run at home. They have taken 1 point from their last 4 home games in the group stages. Wexford arrive there in Week 1 and will be looking to extend this dismal form.

Away Raiders

Waterford are the only team who have won more away games than home games. This year sees them travel to Cork and Tipperary. Last year they won all 3 away games to avoid the relegation battle.

Clare will need to vastly improve on their away form as they face 3 games on the road – to Kilkenny, Wexford and Waterford.

Points Needed to Avoid the Relegation Playoff

I’m sure most managers are targeting a certain record over the 5 games to avoid the relegation play-off and make the quarters. Looking at past results (below) it seems 5 points is a healthy target.

The obvious logic is win early and make sure you win your home games. But only 6 of the 14 teams who failed to win away have avoided a relegation playoff. Points earned on the road are vital.

Dangerous Early Assumptions

After the inter-county hurling famine that is the winter there is a huge emphasis put on the first round of league games. Last year Cork turned in a huge performance against Clare and everyone thought the form was set in stone – the very next week Dublin went to Cork and won while Clare gave Brian Cody his biggest ever beating in a 13-point drubbing.

  • In 6 years of Division 1A only 5 teams of the 36 to start have won their opening 2 games – (14% of teams)
  • 66% of teams who have lost their opening game have won the next day out.
  • No teams has won all 5 games and no team has won their first 4 games.
  • The highest points total in Division 1A has been 8pts – 3 teams have achieved this and 2 of those lost their opening game.
  • Only 4 teams (from 11) who lost 2 of their opening 3 games have been in the relegation playoff – finishing strongly is key.

Finally

With Galway, Clare and Waterford having won the League from Division 1B there may be a clamour towards the relegation playoff.

Galway had the luxury last year of trying their full panel in the group stages of 1B. 1B teams had used an average of 27.2 players by week 3, whereas 1A teams had tried out and average of 25.3 players.

Maybe with the 1B effect and the home/away disadvantage highlighted above there might be a few adjustments to the league layout in the coming seasons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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)

Follow me on twitter @sheikhbarabas for more info!

National Hurling League – Some Numbers up to Round 3

The National Hurling League has gone through three rounds of mud-battling to leave the public very confused. Cork were back, then Dublin were back, then Kilkenny were gone….and above all Wexford are back WOOHOO!

Unlike the many games of the Premier League or Major League Baseball, us hurling fans are not used to the week-in week-out changing nature of sports. We like to watch one-off matches and judge teams for that match alone. Players and Managers have been abused on the back of one poor performance – In baseball The World Series champions, the Chicago Cubs, lost 58 regular season games! Cody struggles with two.

I’ve had a look at some of the numbers behind the league to date…..

Selections

Looking at team selection details can tell you a little. Which teams are experimenting in the league, or which teams are picking a strong first team looking to win.

Looking at the three tables above you can see that both Galway, Laois and Limerick have been chopping and changing. Galway have had time to try out 30 different hurlers in the three rounds to date, Michael Donoghue is using their first trip to Division 1B to see their full panel.

Limerick have collected a good few years of strong under-age teams and seem to be struggling to find the best combination of young talent to start. Eamonn Kelly, meanwhile, is scouring his new county of Laois for talent, and they have worked hard at under-age in the past while so he may yet find a few gems.

On the other end of the scale Wexford and Waterford are working off of smaller panels. Seven of Waterford’s team has been constant throughout the 3 rounds. Derek McGrath has picked the same names in 5 defending positions and at goalkeeper, this is understandable as he has faced Tipperary, Kilkenny and a trip to Dublin in his first 3 games. Wexford have been pushing hard for promotion with opening games against Galway and Limerick limiting Davy Fitz’s selection policy.

Much has been made of Brian Cody’s search for a new Kilkenny team but the selection’s show he has built this new team around seven key players who have started every game – Eoin Murphy, Paul Murphy, Padraig Walsh, Conor Fogarty, Cillian Buckley, TJ Reid and Richie Hogan. These seven have had 18 different players tried around them in different lines of the pitch. Conor O Shea already looks like a solid addition to their side.

The Main Clubs

I’m always interested in seeing which clubs are providing the most key players to each county team. Last year Cuala had more hurlers selected for their county than any other club in Ireland, it is therefore no surprise to see them reach the All Ireland Club Final to face Clare’s Ballyea. This success of Cuala has had a major impact on Ger Cunningham’s Dublin in the league so far. Below is a table of the clubs who have had hurlers play the most minutes to date in the league.

Kerry hurling is clearly reliant on a small group of clubs with 5 clubs making the top 20. Kerry have picked their squad from 7 clubs in the county and Clarecastle in Clare.

The 2016 All-Ireland Club Champions, Na Piarsiagh of Limerick are alongside Borris in Ossory-Kilcotton (2016 Laois Champions) and Kilmacud Crokes with 6 hurlers selected for the league, an impressive achievement for any club.

The Set-Piece Battle

Looking at the results to date we can break down the scoring numbers for each county by their differential on scoring from set-pieces.

This table shows us that both Limerick and Wexford have outscored their oppositions by 9 points from frees, 65’s and sidelines. Wexford have made an excellent start to their league with tight wins against Limerick and Galway, this can only have been aided by conceding only 1-10 from placed ball in total over the three games. Limerick would argue that a blown penalty call in Wexford Park would see them further ahead in this table and also top of Division 1B!

On the bottom of the table you see Kerry and Dublin. Kerry have given away 2-27 from placed balls, seven points more than any other team and this is something they should be focusing on reducing. Dublin have a worryingly low scoring balance of minus 11. They have lost games against Waterford and Tipperary conceding 0-10 and 0-9 from placed balls in those games. Even in their win against Cork they were outscored 0-7 to 0-5 from placed balls. This leaves them 9 points below from their nearest Division 1A team, Kilkenny.

Top Scorers

Below are the top scorers from play for Division 1A and 1B. I have separated them out as Galway have been obliterating the table with huge scores against Laois and Offaly.

It is no surprise to see John McGrath top of the table. Stephen Bennett jumped up to the top after his 2-2 scored against Dublin at the weekend.

Division 1B sees a plethora of Galway men take over after their monster wins. Conor McDonald has made the top table after games against Limerick and Galway, in a team with a sweeper – no mean feat.

 

Notes

All numbers and information has been taken from our trusty newspapers and the42.ie. Any changes or emails from Podge Collins to lower John McGrath’s score is more than welcome!

 

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!

Smarter Analysis Sharing – Don’t get left behind

After reading the interesting Irish Digital Consumer Report 2017, I found myself unsurprised by the vast majority of numbers mentioned. What is needed as a performance/video analyst is to use these numbers to ensure analysis access is easy for the modern day player.

Some basic numbers from the aforementioned report and the Ipsos MRBI recent data show:

  • 88% of Irish people aged 16-64 own a smartphone.
  • 61% of online video viewers prefer to watch short content (< 5 minutes) on their smartphones.
  • WhatsApp is owned by 55% of the Irish population, increasing from 36% in 2014.

I’m 34 (ahem, a young 34) and my generation is familiar with emails, web links and web browsers but the introduction of smartphones has obliterated these skills for the younger generation. Apps are king and the under 25’s are vastly more adept at using and accessing apps over the traditional website. This impacts greatly on how we can share analysis to squads and managers.

Getting the key information to the player is a major aspect of sports analysis. The method of distribution can be a make or break for any team management. Modern day players have less access to a desktop PC, their smartphone is their life, tapping into their day-to-day smartphone usage breaks down any barrier. Analysts need to consider this when building an analysis set-up. Managers need to know how to get the key messages across to players.

Using Websites and E-mails to share information to players will limit your reach in the coming years. Whatsapp is an extremely common approach by most managers to contact team players, but it isn’t the only option. There are other apps that may be utilised in future years….

Snapchat

  • 84% of 15-18 year olds have a Snapchat account.
  • 85% of these use it daily.

Snapchat is currently the app of choice for under 25’s for quick messaging. Smartphones can now take, send and view images in seconds. Can a GAA analyst utilise this app to share video analysis? I currently follow American Football analyst Daniel Jeremiah (@movethesticks) on Snapchat and he produces excellent analysis snaps every week to review football performances. Snapchat allows you to easily add highlighting lines and text to any clip or image.

Instagram

Instagram has now a 25% user level in Ireland, but more importantly:

  • 68% of 15-18 year olds have an Instagram account.

Snapchat is king at quick, short images/videos sharing but Instagram is built on it’s the ability to share high quality images and videos online – an analysts dream. Instagram allows private membership so “followers” must request access to your images/videos – thus restricting access to team members. It stores your images and videos unlike Snapchat (which deletes clips/images once seen) for playback. It is an excellent tool.

Just look at how the NFL shares clips on Instagram

@dangerusswilson’s escapability: ???. ? #DETvsSEA #tbt

A video posted by NFL (@nfl) on

A high quailty clip with 500k views.

Evolution

Snapchat and Instagram must become serious options for analysts to distribute analysis to players in the coming years. Smartphone apps are already giving us tools to impact the players. Just look at this image of the Argentina dressing room from last summer…

Apps are free to utilise, need no training up for players and no password restricted access. They offer instant access to the key target market – the players. Using these tools can bridge a gap between generations.

 

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.

 

 

 

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.