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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 28 February, 2020

The story of Mayo and Kerry’s draw in possession, shots, turnovers and kickouts

What were the key stats from last Sunday’s game in Croke Park?

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Please find a refresher on the definitions and how the numbers are compiled here.



A relatively even set of numbers as befitting a high quality draw. The shooting from both teams was of the highest order.

In the Cork game Mayo created 50 attacking possessions becoming, incidentally, the only team outside Dublin to achieve that figure. 37 attacks here may seem on the low side (granted they were down to 14 men for half the game) but that does not take into account the opposition.

Kerry are past masters at controlling the tempo of the game. In the previous 6 Championship games, stretching back to 2013, they have allowed 41, 26, 39 (Dublin), 33, 30 & 27 attacks. Part of how they restrict the opposition’s attack is by controlling the clock.

A small illustration of that control could be seen in how they manufactured Fionn Fitzgerald’s point after Lee Keegan’s red card. Kerry took a quick sideline ball in their own half. 84 seconds, and 17 passes later, Fitzgerald popped the ball over the bar. Simple, effective and keeps the ball out of the opposition’s hands.

Where the two teams do differ is in the half splits.

Down to 14 men Mayo absolutely blitzed the second half creating three more shots than Kerry whilst also converting a ridiculous 71% of shots. The best Success Rate recorded to date is Donegal’s 67% against Tyrone in 2013. Although the 71% is only for one half producing that quality and accuracy, whilst down to 14 men, is phenomenal.

Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Where attacks originated

Again incredibly even – indeed Kerry producing an attack from both throw ins is almost the only difference.

Much was made of Mayo’s high press against Cork and whilst it was in evidence here (5 turnovers inside the Kerry 65 resulting in 0-04) Kerry matched the volume if not the conversion to scores (4 turnovers inside Mayo’s 65 resulting in 0-02).

Shots from Play

For the third game this year Kerry produced a Success Rate above 60% (61% V Cork; 63% V Galway). Their shooting this year is consistently brilliant – and this without Cooper. O’Donoghue is a combined 78% (18 from 23) over the three games but the support staff are also shooting at an excellent clip – 56%.

To be hitting 56%, given that the average is 45.4%, whilst excluding your two main marksmen, is exceptional.

A large part of Kerry’s success in this department is their shot selection. Looking at the shot charts below there are very few wild shots – nothing is wasted. On top of this Kerry take fewer shots under pressure than is the norm. In this game 38% (9 from 24) of their shots were taken under pressure which continues the trend observed in the previous two games this year.

Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Shots from dead balls

An excellent day’s work from O’Connor with his only miss being from outside the 45. This was not entirely unexpected as of his four misses prior to this game three have been along the 45m line. Still he is on excellent form with a combined Success Rate of 80% (20/25, weighting of +2.277) in four games.

Undoubtedly O’Connor’s most important conversion was the penalty. It was a wonderful strike, hit hard and with conviction, but the outcome was not entirely unexpected. Over three Championship seasons 88% of penalties have been converted.

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO


Not wishing to be repetitive but … again incredibly equal. From the volumes of turnovers received to the nature by which those turnover were achieved everything is of a fairly equal nature.

The only real difference was in the ‘other’ grouping. Two of Kerry’s seven were attributed to Donnchadh Walsh fouling the ball under immense Mayo pressure whilst I have Michael Geaney tagged for mishandling the ball three times.

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO


Mayo went short with nine (36%) of their kickouts converting three to a shot. Of the remaining 16 Mayo “won” the possession 9-7 but this masks a difficult final ten minutes. Kerry won four of the last five contested (landing beyond the 45) kickouts. Indeed their goal came from a Mayo kickout.

Kerry went short on five (20%) of their kickouts converting three to a shot. Of the remaining 20 Kerry “won” the possession battle 13-6.

So whilst the overall outcomes look very similar Mayo were only able to stay with Kerry in this department through the judicial use of the short kickout. Given their general strength in this area (they won “contestable” kickouts 20-15) it is somewhat surprising that Kerry didn’t push up more on Mayo’s short kickouts. Especially with an extra man.

Case in point was the short kickout executed by Mayo after Crowley’s fisted point. Kerry were four points down with six minutes to go and needed the ball. It was not as if they didn’t have time to set – 26 seconds elapsed between the point being scored and the kickout being taken. Kerry really needed to force Hennelly to kick long in that scenario.

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Shot Charts

Kerry’s shooting

Mayo’s shooting

x = missed, disc = score, yellow = deadball, black = 1st half from play, white = 2nd half from play

Players with >= 2 shots from play


Reproduced with kind permission of James Robinson (@dontfoul ). This article first appeared on the Don’t Foul website.

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Fintan O'Toole

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