Quite awhile back I looked at home advantage in Gaelic Football. You can read that piece here. It found that there was home-field advantage in the league but proved very inconclusive in the Qualifiers. Unlike in the league where teams are grouped together based on their standard (form), the qualifiers are an open draw and can pit teams of very different qualities against each other. This has a tendency to skew the data and might mask any underlying home advantage. For example if Kerry were drawn against Leitrim, away from home, there is no way the home advantage would make up for the gap in quality.
With that in mind I decided to look at home field advantage in the qualifiers while taking account of the difference in quality between the two teams.
A note on the data:
- It includes all qualifier games played on non-neutral grounds.
- Season 2008 – 2012 as that is when the league went to 4 divisions.
- This left us 93 games played in a home venue
First thing to note is that since 2008 home-advantage does have an effect – regardless of the quality of the 2 teams involved. That in itself is noteworthy. However the results get more interesting when we allow for the similarity in quality between the 2 teams. When the difference between the 2 teams is greater than 1 division i.e. Div 2 v Div 4 we see almost no advantage in being at home. The results are closer to 50-50 which is probably linked to the odds that a team will be drawn home or away (50-50).
As the quality of the teams get closer we begin to see a seemingly bigger advantage to being drawn at home. Where teams are from the same division or only 1 division apart home teams win 60% of the time.
The home winning % of teams when they play opposition from the same division is a startling 81%!! This has only happened 16 times since 2008 and only once between Div 1 teams but that is a big number.