I wasn’t sure if I’d done a quick stats piece at the end of the last year’s League campaign – like the one I’ve been doing every year after the FBD is over – but I checked earlier on and I did (it’s here). Which means it’s time for a similar piece on this year’s League. Which, in turn, is the purpose of this post.
I’m all for continuity of analysis, as it makes for easy comparison on a time series basis. Here, then, is this year’s table showing who played for us and against whom (a tick means a place in the first fifteen, S means an appearance off the bench) and who scored, with scores from play listed separately.
That table above contains 30 names, which means that the number of players used in this year’s League campaign is well below last year’s figure of 36.
Greater continuity is also apparent in the number of players who lined out in all seven matches. This year seven players did so – Fergal Boland, Colm Boyle, David Clarke, Paddy Durcan, Keith Higgins, Kevin McLoughlin and Cillian O’Connor – while the corresponding number last year was four.
Four further players featured in every game this year. Stephen Coen (four starts), Andy Moran (6 starts), Conor O’Shea (3 starts) and Donal Vaughan (5 starts) fall into this category. Another three featured in six out of the seven matches. These are Danny Kirby (4 starts), Diarmuid O’Connor (2) and Tom Parsons (5). Had Danny and Tom not been suspended for the Roscommon game due to events down in Tralee, they’d most likely have featured in all seven matches too.
I’m not sure if this means anything but the same number of players – fourteen – made six or more appearances (either starting or coming off the bench) for us over the seven League matches played both this year and last. The devil’s in the detail, though, because, as mentioned above, the number of players starting all seven games is higher this year compared to last (7 v 4), while the number featuring in all seven games is higher too (3 v 2) whereas the number of players lining out in six of the seven games is lower this year compared to 2016 (4 v 8). As I said, though, I’m not sure that stats amounts to much in the scheme of things.
Three players saw their involvement this year restricted to just one appearance each off the bench. (The corresponding number last year was four). Eoin O’Donoghue got significant game time against Kerry in his sole appearance but both Liam Irwin and Neil Douglas only made it onto the field late on, against Roscommon and Cavan respectively.
Our leading scorer this year was Cillian O’Connor, who contributed 2-32 to our aggregate League total of 3-89. Both goals were penalties and all bar six points came from placed balls. Cillian’s total of half a dozen points from play was surpassed by Andy Moran (who bagged eight in total) and was equalled by both Lee Keegan and Tom Parsons (the latter with 1-3), who, together with Kevin McLoughlin (the Knockmore man scored five of his six points from play), ended as joint third highest scorers for us in this year’s NFL.