Most sports around the world have some sort of ranking system. It’s not a new phenomenon but has some real merit in Gaelic Football. The team that lifts Sam has achieved all they need – but how do you asses all the other teams that have competed. New managers come and go but have they improved the team?

The structure of the GAA season does not lend itself to direct comparison from year to year. However if you develop a clear ranking system for teams you can assess how 1 team has done year on year. Good or bad has the team improved?

There is an explanation of how the system works at the bottom of this page, but it is based on a very similar system to FIFA world rankings. Points are awarded for a Win or a Draw with additional weightings being added for the Competition, Opposition Ranking and Historical Weighting.

Here is the 2014 Table as of 18/09/2014 – This will change with 1 game to go!

2014 Table


Historical Table

Want to see how teams have moved up and down over the last few years? Check out this historical table.

historical-world-rankingWinners and Losers

  • 2009 is based on just 1 seasons worth of games – so it is best to concentrate on the later years where more data gives a better picture.
  • It is clear to see the effect Jim McGuinness has had on the Donegal Team. Ranked 19th at the end of 2010 they have yet to finish outside the top 4 under his stewardship.
  • The other big movers are Monaghan. Since Malachy O’Rourke has taken charge they have climbed from amongst the worst ranked teams into the top 5.
  • It might be surprising to see in 2011 for example that Donegal finished 1st and Dublin 2nd but there were more points available for Donegal as they were coming from a much lower base.
  • Armagh look like one of the most inconsistent teams. But 2014 has seen them break into the top 10 for the first time.
  • Derry can feel a little hard done by –Despite 2 successful league campaigns in 2013 and 2014 they have really failed to inspire in the Championship, hence the low ranking.

I’m sure it will create plenty of discussion – no system is perfect but it’s as objective as any system in determining how well a team has done over the years. And remember this is just a bit of fun!

Ranking Explanation

So how does it work?

This is based heavily on the system FIFA use to rank International Football Teams and works like this.

100*(Result x Match Status x Opposition Ranking x Historical Weighting)

Result Explained;

Win = 3

Draw = 0

Loss = 0

Match Status Explained;

Not all games are created equally to we apply a weighting to each game type.

Championship Game = 5

Qualifier = 3

League = 1

This makes a championship game 5 times more important than a league game. Most teams are judged on their championship form so I think that gap is justified.

Opposition Ranking Explained;

At the end of a season teams are ranked 1 – 34 – this ranking forms the basis for the Opposition Ranking in the subsequent year. This means beating a team ranked higher will get you more ranking points than beating a team of lower ranking.

Historical Weighting Explained;

The results below cover games played between 2009 – 2014 (15/9/2014). Each season is weighted so that results in 2014 are worth more than in 2013 and so on.


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