Performance analysis has become a major component of the coaching process. A combination of statistical information and video clips allow coaches to analyse performance and provide feedback on both individual and team performance. The same process also allows a coaching team to establish positives and negatives from each performance, and should provide them with a guide as to the needs of the team in subsequent training sessions.
Throughout the Ulster Senior football championship 2016, Ulster GAA will be providing statistical analysis, supported by video clips analysing each game.
Possession is considered a key factor in match analysis, despite the fact little evidence exists to suggest superior possession share relates to successful outcome. In many sports, possession is measured as percentage of time spent on the ball. However, in GAA, it is more pertinent to assess possession as a count – the number of possessions each team has during a game.
Conditions played a crucial role in the possession count in this game. Combined possessions in this game totalled 112, in contrast to the previous high in the USFC of 91. The higher possession count seemed to be due to factors other than just conditions, notably tactical efforts from both teams, on occasions, delivering long ball into the full forward area and the consistent, and correct, penalising of players who carried the ball into the tackle.
Tyrone edged the possession count, and were more effective progressing possession into scoring positions, and converting scores. Cavan produced the least effective performance so far in the USFC, only managing to convert 19% of possessions to scores.
Neither team were overly clinical in front of goal, both falling short of the 48% average in the USFC. Cavan managed the poorest return to date, with just 37% success rate from shots, in stark contrast to 58% against Armagh. Tyrone also fell well short of their quarter final performance, converting 46% of shots, compared to 55% against Derry.
Possession balance reflected the kick out share, and turnover count, with Tyrone emerging with a minimal advantage in both areas. The kick out battle was dominated by short kick outs, with Tyrone winning 14 of their own kicks short, while Cavan won 10 of their own kicks short. It should be acknowledged that Cavan also managed to win 9 of their own kicks in more advanced areas of the pitch courtesy of some excellent kick execution.
Despite Cavan’s success with many longer kick outs, the riskier strategy did occasionally backfire, with easy possession presented to Tyrone a number of times from Cavan kick outs. Tyrone had less issues with their own kicks, largely due to selecting a safer short kick out tactic more frequently.
As with many other factors in this game, the turnover count was also the highest of the championship so far (Tyrone – 29, Cavan – 30). Both will be concerned with the volume of possession coughed up either in the tackle, or being blown up for technical infringements – many of which were related to carrying the ball into tackles and subsequently over carrying.
As mentioned, neither team was particularly efficient in front of goal – with Tyrone converting 46% of shots, while Cavan sturggled to just 37% success. In defence of the teams, weather conditions played a significant factor in this match – we witnessed the highest wide count of the USFC 2016 (23).
Despite Cavan’s inferior statistics across many key areas they managed to draw the match due to their superior productivity – they produced a greater impact on the score board with every possession compared to Tyrone. The reason is no secret – Cavan’s 3 goals compensated for an inferior performance in all other areas, with Tyrone’s inability to register a major crucial in their failure to close out the result first time of asking.
Cavan – lessons for training
Having been very clinical against Armagh, Cavan will be disappointed to see shot success drop by more than 20%. Whether by fortune or design, their ability to score 3 goals, rescued a draw in this game, with a number of areas needing attention ahead of the replay;
- Shooting – specifically their point taking attempts. Cavan produced a mixture of poor finishes and poor shot selection throughout the game, resulting in 12 wides, and a few chances dropped short;
- Kick outs – despite some excellent kick outs, there were a few that handed Tyrone uncontested possession in central areas of the pitch. Cavan will be keen to address this issue in an attempt to gain a greater share of possession next day out;
- Cavan turned over a significant amount of ball either directly as a result of a tackle, or through getting bottled up in the tackle. On several occasions it appeared to be a conscious decision to carry possession into contact, perhaps in an effort to draw free kicks. In the replay they may be better served avoiding contact where possible and continuing to move the ball to space;
Tyrone – lessons for training
Tyrone put together a solid performance considering the conditions, prevailing in the majority of the key stakes throughout the match. However, concession of 3 goals proved their undoing, and in the end they were fortunate to escape with the draw given the timing of Cavan’s third goal. Ahead of the replay Tyrone will have less to worry about than Cavan – but correcting their failings is probably of greater importance;
- Concession of 3 goals – had Tyrone not conceded these goals they would have won comfortably. The problem for Tyrone is that all 3 were scored through different mechanisms, the first a strong solo run with well-timed support, the second a long ball into the danger area and an effective flick on, and the final ball a sequence of shorter, more intricate passes finished with another flick on. The difficulty for Tyrone is how to address all 3 ahead of the replay;
- Drop in shot success – while not as significant as Cavan’s drop, Tyrone’s shot success fell by 9%, an issue they will be keen to reverse for the replay. It is fair to suggest conditions may have played a part, but Tyrone missed 5 placed kicks from central areas around 45m from goal. If they can rectify this, they will stand a good chance of prevailing in the replay;
- As with Cavan, Tyrone turned a significant amount of ball over in contact. Avoiding contact will certainly have to be a priority ahead of the replay.