The Frightening Stats Behind Dublin's Improvement This Year

The Frightening Stats Behind Dublin's Improvement This Year

Some bad news for everyone else: Dublin are only getting better. Their fourth-straight All-Ireland title seemed the easiest won of the Jim Gavin era, and while that may be partly down the fact that Mayo and Kerry couldn't raise a resistance, the better part of the reality is Dublin's own improvement.

Sure are the official statistics partner of the GAA, and they have furnished us with some stats to illuminate exactly that.

The Dubs' average score in 2018 was 27.5 points per game, up from 25.7 ppg in 2017 and 20.9 in 2016. (This year's numbers were partly aided by the turkey shoot against Roscommon, in a game that didn't exist under the old format). They have improved their scoring numbers by a whopping 32% in the space of two years, and given that all but Dean Rock of the forwards that started the All-Ireland final are 25 and under, that figure might yet improve.

The Dubs are conceding slightly more, however: an average of 15.4 points per game this year contrasts with 13.2 per game last year.

Their discipline is improving, too: they conceded an average of 13 frees per game this year, compared to 17 in 2017. They also didn't pick up a single black card all year and reduced the total number of yellow cards received from 19 to just 9, although they maintained the tradition of the John Small red card in an All-Ireland final. (And threw in one in the Leinster final for good measure).

Their shot efficiency/accuracy from play has improved, too: up from 55% to 60%.

Heck, even Stephen Cluxton is getting better. Last year, Dublin won 84% of their 121 kickouts; this year that figure reads 87% of 196 restarts.


Given the increase in the number of kickouts taken, you'd expect the average to drop. Not with Cluxton and the Dubs.

This year, Dublin registered a total of 1,681 hand passes and 509 foot passes in eight games. Last year, those totals read 1,349 hand passes and 447 foot passes. 

Given the extra couple of games, it's necessary to adjust these figures to an average per game. Once that's done, it is shown that Dublin shifted their style of play somewhat: they made more handpasses per game this year (224 vs 210) and fewer foot passes (64.6 v 74.5).

Interestingly, they were turned over in contact 44 times this year, which is a big increase on the 27 such incidents last year. They also won fewer turnovers this year: a total of 29 compares less favourably with last year's 34.

Sure also collated a series of stats on the three Player of the Year nominees. They are exhaustive, but we will quote a couple of our favourites: Ciaran Kilkenny misplaced zero foot passes and one hand pass all year, while Brian Fenton conceded a single free. Both played seven games.

Jack McCaffrey, meanwhile won 17 of Cluxton's kickouts (four more than Fenton), Kilkenny kicked 2-24 from play while Brian Fenton registered a fairly remarkable 73.7% shot accuracy.

Sure, Official Statistics Partner of the GAA, has recorded every pass, tackle and shot of both Dublin and Limerick’s 2018 Championship seasons, as well as those of Sure ambassador and Dublin footballer Ciaran Kilkenny, to shed light on the numbers behind their All Ireland successes. #NeverMoreSure

See Also: 'I Was So Annoyed I Ended Up Cycling To My Granny's House In Portlaoise'


Gavin Cooney
Article written by
Changed the spelling of his name upon pressure from Michael Owen.

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