Fascinating insight into how 2020 Allianz Leagues may end up
TYRONE will finish runners-up in Division One while Armagh, Down and Antrim will all clinch promotion but Fermanagh will be relegated according to the results of a fascinating National League simulation carried out by Deely Sport Science.
Using League and Championship results from 2010, researchers calculated goal and point attack and defence ratings for each team and, after adding a home advantage factor, they simulated the final two games in each of the four divisions.
The ‘Dixon-Coles Time Decay Model' was used so that current form was most important and the ratings were updated between the two rounds of games.
Round 6 Simulation:
Division One: Donegal 0-8 Tyrone 1-16, Monaghan 2-4 Kerry 0-14, Galway 2-12 Mayo 0-9, Dublin 3-14 Meath 1-16
Division Two: Armagh 0-17 Roscommon 1-9, Clare 0-8 Fermanagh 0-14, Westmeath 3-23 Laois 1-10, Kildare 1-21 Cavan 1-16
Division Three: Down 2-10 Leitrim 0-9, Cork 1-15 Louth 2-12, Derry 1-11 Longford 2-15, Tipperary 1-13 Offaly 0-11
Division Four: Waterford 3-20 London 0-7, Carlow 0-15 Sligo 1-11, Wicklow 0-11 Antrim 4-17, Limerick 2-11 Wexford 1-14
Round 7 simulation:
Division One: Galway 0-13 Dublin 1-9, Mayo 3-9 Tyrone 4-14, Kerry 0-15 Donegal 2-9, Monaghan 0-16 Meath 1-9
Division Two: Cavan 1-14 Roscommon 0-15, Clare 1-6 Armagh 0-16, Kildare 0-10 Westmeath 1-12
Division Three: Longford 2-14 Cork 1-9, Louth 0-11 Down 1-9, Leitrim 0-6 Tipperary 2-12, Offaly 3-11 Derry 2-13
Division Four: Antrim 0-11 Waterford 1-7, Wexford 2-11 Wicklow 1-11, London 1-13 Carlow 1-9, Sligo 2-20 Limerick 2-5
Division 1: Galway 1-17 Tyrone 0-9
Division 2: Armagh 0-16 Westmeath 1-12
Division 3: Cork 1-18 Down 1-13
Division 4: Wexford 2-12 Antrim 0-12
The story so far: Division One review (from Deely Sports Science)
Galway lead the way at the postponement of the NFL with Kerry, Tyrone, Dublin, Donegal and Monaghan probably satisfied with their positions in the standings. Meath struggled to adapt to life in Division 1 and looked certain to be relegated. Mayo had yet to face their high-flying neighbours and Tyrone who were going about their business efficiently, if not spectacularly, so survival prospects were probably slim.
The Padraic Joyce revolution was gathering pace in Galway. They sat at the top of the table playing an attractive brand of attacking football. Galway's use of the foot pass to move the ball at pace was noticeable – 24 per cent of all passes are foot passes comfortably above the League average of 18 per cent.
Meanwhile, Monaghan were also swaying towards a direct foot-passing game but haven't reaped the rewards in terms of results.
Meath and Tyrone were less impressive up front and it looked like neither county was aided by a slow build-up.
The top four teams are clear in Dublin, Donegal, Kerry and Galway but Mayo, Meath, Tyrone and Monaghan definitely have potential to put strong Championship runs together. Donegal are strongly mirroring the Dublin approach – control, patience and emphasizing shot quality are the keys to their success.
THE Dubs remain the benchmark. Still picking up points despite a late return to training with many star campaigners held in reserve. The gameplan remains the same and their quality players mean they will be tough to topple. Patience, smart shot selection and efficiency remain the hallmarks of Dublin. 60 per cent of Dublin's scores originate from their own kick-outs or turnovers forced inside their own 45, whilst they have only been turned over inside their own 45 three times.
Brian Fenton continues to solidify his ‘Player of the Year' credentials and claim to be the best player in the land whilst Niall Scully, James McCarthy, Brian Howard and Ciaran Kilkenny know their roles inside out and perform them impeccably. Only Galway get close to the quality point attempts that Dublin do.
There are plenty of miles on clocks and if Stephen Cluxton fails to return opponents may think they see a chink in the armour. When forced to go outside his 45, his deputy Evan Comerford struggles to keep the retention rate high. Wide and short right appears to be his preferred option.
THE Ulster champions have serious depth. They combine experienced players who have reached the pinnacle before with an excellent goalkeeper in Shaun Patton and lots of up-and-coming talent.
With an intelligent backroom team and a formidable game plan and style coming together they look like the best placed team to stop Dublin's six in-a-row. Their first 10-15 minutes versus Dublin were incredible, bossing the game and not letting the Dubs breathe. Looking at the metrics, they appear to be performing solidly if not spectacularly and interestingly they are generating the most shots at goal. Are we seeing a shift in mindset and an intention to go for the jugular?
Management duo Declan Bonner and Stephen Rochford need to nail down the centre half-back position. Daire O'Baoill and Conor O'Donnell have had a few runs there without making it their own. Probably most impressively, Donegal have managed all this without the likes of Stephen McMenamin, Odhran MacNiallais and Oisin Gallen while Paddy McBrearty has yet to hit his stride.
THE Kingdom were League and All-Ireland finalists last year and have maintained their fine form. Seven points from five games is not to be sniffed at and David Moran hasn't made his return yet. Attacking wise they possess some of the best forwards in the game, David Clifford, Stephen O'Brien, Paul Geaney and Sean O'Shea are an established well-oiled machine. James O'Donoghue adds a different dimension to their attack, he possesses sharp shooting and creativity in abundance and provides the intelligent quality ball the likes of Clifford thrive on. Kerry may take on more difficult point attempts than their big rivals, but they compensate for this with outstanding efficiency.
Kerry's scores originate from a variety of areas and they are not overly reliant on any one way of playing. On the other hand, they leak points from all angles too.
Question marks remain about the backline and the loss of Donie Buckley has done nothing to quell these. Kerry concede plenty of high-quality shots Peter Crowley's return will help but the big question for Kerry is: Can they hold the best teams to 14-15 points a game?
CONTENDERS without a shadow of doubt. Shane Walsh and Damien Comer offer pace, power and scores up front. The full-back line has been impressive in dealing with marquee forwards but also having an impact at the other end. With their focus on direct attacking football they will be many people's favourite to stop Dublin but there concerns over their performance in the middle third of the field.
Liam Silke and John Daly have been tried at centre back, with Paul Conroy, Cein D'Arcy, Ronan Steede and Tom Flynn getting minutes in midfield. Plenty of depth but getting the balance right will be crucial – Conroy and Steede offer loads going forward but is there enough defensively between them to work as a combination? Galway's scoring has been phenomenal and their directness and speed is enabling them to convert their attacks with incredible efficiency.
They have conceded plenty of turnovers but that is probably to be expected given the style they are playing.
Galway have managed to combine massive over-performance of expected points (half of which is down to Walsh) when attacking whilst forcing opponents to underperform going forward. Is this sustainable? Is it due to incredible attacking skill and defensive pressure or have opponents had off days with Galway enjoying hot streaks? Statistics tells us reversion to the mean is a common occurrence and if Galway revert to the mean at both ends of the field they will not be as successful.
CATHAL McShane's rumoured departure was the main storyline for Tyrone throughout the League and the talk about his move to AFL was followed by his unfortunate injury.
The Red Hands managed home wins in horrible conditions versus Dublin and Kerry whilst their hammering versus Galway wasn't as bad as the scoreline suggests. Darren McCurry and Niall Morgan were star League performers and with Mattie Donnelly and McShane having virtually no involvement Tyrone would feel they have plenty of room to progress. Mid-table feels about right.
Tyrone are in the conversation, defensively solid but they need to figure out how they are going to create better chances and score more. Figuring out the best role for Peter Harte will be crucial. Tyrone need to figure out how to consistently go from negative shot efficiency to plus territory in order to win more games. Currently they are losing on average 2.5 points per game to Dublin just through their poor finishing.
Seamus McEnaney has brought renewed hope to a Monaghan team which has come off the back of a poor 2019 and lost some experienced campaigners through retirement. There's a clear plan to spread scores and not rely on Conor McManus as much. Rory Beggan is continuing to revolutionise the role of goalkeeper and has shown that any free inside the opponent's half is within his range. Monaghan's kick-outs are effective.
Defensively Monaghan have conceded 10 more points than would have been expected while, at the other end, they have achieved an average shooting return. To improve their efficiency and scoring Monaghan may see the benefits from focusing on generating shots from play inside the shooting zone. Free-taking has been good with Beggan and McManus combining to convert efficiently.
Dessie Ward, Karl O'Connell, the Wylie and Hughes brothers, Niall Kearns and McManus are a strong backbone for a team that will be hoping to have an impact in Ulster and the All-Ireland series. Encouraging the likes of Conor McCarthy and Jack McCarron to increase their impact, adding depth and refining shot selection will be crucial to their hopes.
MAYO have struggled this year. They beat fellow strugglers Meath and stole a point at the death from Donegal but it's not all doom and gloom and they still have players to return in the likes of Cillian O'Connor and Seamie O'Shea.
Mayo's kick-outs have been vulnerable with opponents managing to poach 16 points from them but possibly more troublesome is the lack of scores from successfully retained possessions. Mayo's 115 kickouts have resulted in a net return of four points whereas opponents' 102 kick-outs have resulted in a net return of 16.
The production line of defenders continues with Padraig O'Hora and Oisin Mullin particularly impressive. With the likes of Lee Keegan, Paddy Durcan, Colm Boyle, Donnie Vaughan and Keith Higgins they are well stocked at the back but up front has been a mixed bag, Diarmuid O'Connor continues to lead with decent output and immense workrate, Kevin McLaughlin's class has told when he gets on the field and Ryan O'Donoghue has been industrious and combative. There still remains a lack of an out-and-out score creation.
MEATH struggled to adjust to the standard at Division 1, not helped by injuries. Meath have been slightly unlucky with results, they will feel hard done by in tight games against Mayo, Kerry and Galway. However, they were yet to face the Dubs.
The quartet of Donal Keogan, James McEntee, Cillian O'Sullivan and Brian Menton have coped well but the supporting cast, especially up front, could provide more. Meath's efficiency in front of goal is simply not of the required standard – not aided by a lack of penetration, they have been forced to take low % shots outside the shooting zone.
At the other end they have been punished quite severely for turnovers inside their own 45 – 13 turnovers for 13 points.
Meath have managed to disrupt opponents' kickouts and take advantage of them quite effectively with it being their biggest source of scores (17 points). Success has been concentrated around the mid-range kickouts.