Ball in Play Worry for GAA – Rob Carroll

The following article appeared in the Irish Independent on Tuesday. If you are interested in learning more about the stats mentioned in the article or about the analysis service we offer please get in touch.

By Colm Keys

Tuesday October 11 2011

The ball was in play for an average of 34 minutes and 38 seconds per-match during this year’s GAA football championships, it has emerged.

Statistics compiled by performance analyst Robert Carroll show that Gaelic football championship matches enjoyed just 46pc of action — inclusive of added-time — in this summer’s championship.

Carroll took his information from the 29 games televised live over the summer and concluded that the figure is considerably lower than the AFL average, which is 60pc.

‘Ball-in-play’ does not include the time between when a foul is committed and when play resumes or when the ball goes outside the pitch parameters, according to Carroll.

The most action, as defined by Carroll, was seen in theLeinster football final between Dublin and Wexford in July, when the ball remained in play for 41 minutes and 55 seconds. This was the only game where the 40-minute barrier was passed.

The smallest amount of actual playing time was recorded in the Ulster quarter-final between Tyrone and Monaghan, which had just 30 minutes and 39 seconds of action.

“A 46pc figure would be low by comparison to other sports,” said Carroll. “The AFL is now 60pc and has probably jumped 10pc over the last decade.”

Carroll, from Toca Sports, pointed out that there were 21 more shots at goal in the Dublin’s clash with Wexford than there were in the Tyrone and Monaghan game.

“From looking at these games it becomes apparent how persistent fouling is interrupting games,” said Carroll. “That is the biggest time-killer.”

One of the highest figures of ‘ball in play’ (38.41) was recorded in the Connacht semi-final between Roscommon and Leitrim in Carrick-on-Shannon, on one of the wettest championship Sundays.

Carroll is hoping to provide a database of such statistics in the coming years which may provide an insight into the changing trends in Gaelic football.

– Colm Keys

Irish Independent

1 Comment

  • seamus


    well done on the website, its very engaging. I particularly like your point about the importance of recording the correct stats as they are only relevant when they can determine if the team are achieving on the pitch what they intended and also they are only as good as the analyst looking at them.

    When stats are mentioned I always think of the punter beside me at a game who was collecting stats and after a midfielder with a strong wind at his back attempted to pass to a corner forward he blasted the ball out over the end line close to the corner flag the punter decided to record it as a wide.

    One stat I have always wondered about is the amount of distance covered by players in all Ireland finals similar to the stat provided in champions league games and I would like if you could provide this.



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