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 Hurling Clubs – Where All-Stars are born

With the All Stars approaching I thought I’d have a look at the history of the All-Star awards. Which clubs have produced the most All-Star hurlers? Which clubs have produced all star hurlers over various eras?

(Edit: you can now check out the Gaelic Football version)

The All Star awards began in 1971, so the records I’m looking at cover 46 seasons leading up to this years awards. The awards therefore don’t include the one or two Cloyne might have picked up for that Ring chap who was decent enough or the awards that Rathnure might have won with 3 Rackard brothers.

The table below shows the clubs that have produced 4 hurlers or more to win All-Stars.

all-stars-by-club

James Stephens of Kilkenny have incredibly produced 10 different hurlers to win an All-Star. This along with giving the hurling world a certain Brian Cody.

(Note: Previously had 11 for James Stephens – double count on Joe Hennessy , h/t Enda McEvoy)

Club Eras

Blackrock in Cork are in second place with 9 different hurlers winning 21 awards. Huge numbers despite not having won an award since Wayne Sherlock’s 2004 All-Star, 12 seasons ago.

Ballyhale on the other hand have won 22 of their 27 All Stars over the course of the past 15 years. 6 of their 8 award winners have played for Kilkenny since 2000.

Below I have charted the clubs who have won 10 or more All Stars. The chart shows them by year.

all-stars-by-club-by-year

This chart (unfortunately a little small) shows us how Ballyhale have collected their vast majority of awards since 2000. Also we can see the dominance Finbarrs & Blackrock held in Cork in the 70’s and 80’s.

My analysis has shown me that groups that grow up together can raise their own standards – awards for clubs are picked up by multiple players in certain eras. Club players push each other to further greatness.

  • Ballyhale Shamrocks  – 6 winners of 16 awards (2009-15)
  • Blackrock – 6 winners of 13 awards (1974-84)
  • Mullinahone – 3 winners of 10 awards (2000-11)
  • James Stephens – 3 winners of 5 awards (1999-02), 2 winners of 6 awards (2007-10), 5 winners of 12 awards (1973-79)
  • St Finbarrs – 4 winners of 11 awards (1971-78)
  • Seir Keiran – 4 winners of 9 awards (1994-00)
  • South Liberties 3 winners of 13 awards (1971-81)

Take Young Irelands as an example- 3 winners of 13 awards (1997-02) – DJ Carey, Pat O Neill and Charlie Carter won multiple awards but since that group Young Ireland’s have won none and prior to their success Young Irelands had no all-stars. Club players seem to drive each other to the highest level of success.

Location

What links many of the top clubs is their location in their respective counties.

  • James Stephens – Kilkenny City
  • St Finbarrs, Blackrock, Glen Rovers – Cork City

This makes the achievements of Ballyhale Shamrocks (8 winners, 27 All Stars) and Fenians (7 winners, 20 All Stars) all the more remarkable. Producing multiple All Star winners is exceptional for a non-city club.

 

Mission Impossible: Ferns?

How do you solve a problem like Oulart?

  • 9 county titles won in 12 years.
  • An average winning margin per game of over 8 points in the past 6 seasons.
  • 39 wins, 1 draw and 2 defeats in their past 42 Wexford Championship matches.

When Ferns St Aidans line out next Sunday to face the men from Oulart-The Ballagh they know they are facing a monumental battle to dethrone the champions. The table below shows how dominant Oulart have been for the past 6 seasons:

screenshot-2016-09-26-19-58-08

(This table doesn’t include results from Oulart’s 4 titles from 2005-10!)

So how can Ferns try to stop the black and red monster rolling on?

MISSION 1: Stop Oulart scoring goals.

In their past 42 games (2011 to present) in the Pettits SHC Oulart have scored at least 1 goal in 36 matches……with a record of 35 wins and 1 draw.

Stopping Oulart’s forwards is far easier said than done, but a focus on keeping the sliotar out of the Ferns’ net must be the number 1 priority. The table below shows Oulart’s win record based on how many goals they have scored in a match.

oulart-goals-scored

Oulart’s two solitary defeats in their past 6 Pettits SHC seasons have come when they have been held goal-less. This year Mickey Laffan has built a tight Ferns defence, conceding only 1 goal in their 6 matches to date (to Oulart!), so this is a target they can really aim for.

MISSION 2: Take a different approach

Ferns have locked horns with Oulart 4 times in the past 6 seasons. each time coming out on the wrong end.

In each of these 4 matches Ferns have scored 17 times (1-16 three times and 0-17 once). Scoring 17 times or less against Oulart has never seen them beaten in the past 6 seasons (35 wins, 1 draw).

Ferns also have the undesirable record of having conceded the most of any team against Oulart over the past 6 years:

ferns-v-oulart-avg-score

Ferns have conceded an average of 3-21 in their past 4 matches against Oulart. Some change has to be made from their previous approach, 17 scores have proven not to be enough and Fern’s have yet to get to grips with Oulart’s attack.

MISSION 3: Wear Blue & Green!

Ferns should look at previous ways teams have taken on Oulart and maybe the tactics/style employed by the Glynn Barntown men is the way they should work.

In their 3 meetings over the past 6 years Glynn Barntown have held Oulart to their lowest average score – 20 points (some 10 points less than Ferns’ average concession). Barntown’s results against Oulart read alot easier than most teams who’ve been put to the sword, Barntown have lost by 5 points, 1 point and had a shock win in 2014 through a last minute Rowan White goal.

Mickey Laffan would do well to tap into his home clubs experience in handling Oulart’s attack.

MISSION 4: Stifle the 4 Headed Beast

Dessie, Nicky, Rory & Garrett. Four names that defenders all over Wexford shudder to hear. Oulart Coach Frank Flannery likes to draw defences out and play ball into space in front of the four men that lead his charge.

This year these four Oulart forwards all make the Top 10 scorers from play in the Wexford Championship:

top-10-scores-play-wexford-shc

Ferns match-ups will have to be spot on in order to stifle the movement and speed of this front 4. Any space allowed to these four forwards can lead to disaster as Naomh Eanna found out within 2 minutes of their quarter final.

Conclusion

Mickey Laffan and the men from Ferns have their work cut out on Sunday. Their previous round upset win over St. Martins must give them great belief. Oulart are the standard bearers in Wexford and it will take one hell of a performance to oust the champions. Oulart found out in 2014 against Glynn Barntown that past dominance matters for little in knockout hurling. As a neutral I can only hope for a cracker.