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The football championship - Is...

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The football championship - Is it time for change?

Daithi Boland
Daithi Boland

08:00 23 May 2019


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I’ve heard the thoughts from journalists, managers, players and supporters that they feel it’s time for a new championship structure and I’ve seen with my own eyes that the current setup is just not showcasing football for what it is and what it can be and that is an enjoyable game to watch.

I’m not looking to give my view on why a tiered championship should be setup or what new plans could be done to improve the current format, what I’m looking at are the stats. Stats that can give us an indication as to how much of a difference there has been between the sides regularly competing in the top two tiers (Division 1 and 2) of the league and the bottom two (Division 3 and 4)

I’ve looked back at the championship seasons from 2008-2018, I went back to 2008 as that was the year we saw the league divisions change to what they are now division 1-4 rather than 1A-2B.

First of all I went through the leagues from 2008-18 to see which division each team was in and then I went over every result in the championship from 08-18 looking to see how sides from division 3 and 4 fared against division 1 and 2 teams.


Results

The results showed that out of 273 games between 08-18 only 55 times have teams from division 3 or 4 beaten division 1 or 2 sides that’s  a 20.15% win rate.

Out of those 55 wins there were 18 teams who won *() indicate wins – Antrim (3), Armagh (3), Carlow (2), Cavan (3), Clare (1), Down (3), Fermanagh (6), Leitrim (2), Limerick (1), Longford (6), Louth (2), Monaghan (1), Offaly (1), Roscommon (2), Sligo (4), Tipperary (5), Wexford (5), Wicklow (4)

From those 18 teams Carlow, Leitrim, Limerick, Offaly and Wicklow are the only teams that have never gone beyond division 3. When these teams win it lights up the championship but sadly it’ doesn’t happen enough and it only accounts for 3.7% of the wins which shows teams like these need to play at a level where they can compete and have a better chance of winning more games.

A total of 12 wins came from division 4 sides overall. In the time period there were 50 games played between D1 and D4 sides and out of those 50 matches only three times did a D4 team beat a D1 team (6%) - Wicklow v Kildare in 2008, Antrim v Donegal in 2009 and Carlow v Kildare in 2018.


How many times have D3 or 4 sides got beyond round 4 of the All Ireland?

2008 – Wexford (D3) semi final defeat to Tyrone

2010 – Roscommon (D3) quarter final defeat to Cork

2011 – Limerick (D3) quarter final defeat to Kerry

2013 – Cavan (D3) Monaghan (D3) quarter final defeat to Tyrone and Kerry

2015 – Fermanagh (D3) quarter final defeat to Dublin

2016 – Tipperary (D3) semi final defeat to Mayo, Clare (D3) quarter final defeat to Kerry

2017 – Armagh (D3) quarter final defeat to Tyrone


The charts below indicate the amount of times a team from division 3 or 4 beat a team from division 1 or 2

Championship wins against D1 teams from 08-18

Championship wins against D2 teams from 08-18


Score margins

I also wanted to look at the winning margins when a side from the top two tiers (Div 1 and 2) defeated one from the lower two tiers (Div 3 and 4)

Last year saw the highest total averaging over a 12 point winning margin.

 Winning score average

Out of the 218 games won by division 1 or 2 sides over 3 or 4 there were 43 games where the score difference was 3 or less. That’s 19.72% of the games in total. It shows there are games that can be tight between top tier and lower tier  teams with only a score between them but let’s be honest under 20% is not enough to make you think the current structure works to market and develop the game and to also improve the confidence of weaker teams.

  • 15 games = 1 point difference
  • 16 games = 2 point difference
  • 12 games = 3 point difference

49 – That’s how many games were won by 10 or more points between D1 teams against 3 and 4

Top three widest winning margins

  • 31 - Dublin v Westmeath (2017)
  • 27 - Dublin v Longford (2015)
  • 26 – Kerry v Waterford and Mayo v Sligo (2013 and 2015)

 

 

 

 

Below gives you a more in-depth look as to where the results came from (I did not include draws in these results)

2008 Championship: (Green wins over Div 1, Red wins over Div2)

Div 4 wins

  • 1 (WW beat KE)

Div 3 wins

  • 8
    • 4 (WX beat LS, DN beat TE, FH beat DY, DN beat LS)
    • 4 (WX beat MH, FH beat MN, LK beat MH, WX beat AH)

3 wins in Leinster

3 wins in Ulster

3 wins in the qualifiers – 1 in R1, 1 in R2, 1 in QF

19 games in which Div 1 or 2 teams beat 3 or 4 – Average winning margin 7.79

________________________________________

2009 Championship

Div 4 wins

  • 2
    • 1 (AM beat DL)
    • 1 (WW beat FH)

Div 3 wins

  • 3 (FH beat CN, DN beat LS, RN beat WX)

2 wins in Ulster

3 wins in the qualifiers – 1 in R1, 2 in R2

20 games in which Div 1 or 2 teams beat 3 or 4 – Average winning margin 6.15

________________________________________

2010 Championship

Div 4 wins

  • 2 (LH beat KE, LH beat WH)

Div 3 wins

  • 3 (SO beat MO, SO beat GY, WX beat GY)

2 wins in Leinster

2 wins in Connacht

1 win in the qualifiers (R2)

19 games in which Div 1 or 2 teams beat 3 or 4 – Average winning margins 6.84

________________________________________

2011 Championship

Div 4

  • 2 (LM beat SO, WW beat SO)

Div 3

  • 1 (OY beat MN)

1 win in Connacht

2 wins in the qualifiers (R1)

21 games in which Div 1 or 2 teams beat 3 or 4 – Average winning margins 7.5

________________________________________

2012 Championship

Div 4

  • No wins

Div 3

  • 5 wins
    • 1 (LD beat LS)
    • 4 (SO beat GY, LD beat DY, RN beat AH, AM beat GY)

1 win in Leinster

1 win in Connacht

3 wins in the qualifiers - 2 in R1, 1 in R2

20 games in which Div 1 or 2 teams beat 3 or 4 – Average winning margins 9.05

________________________________________

2013 Championship

Div 4

  • No wins

Div 3

  • 5 wins
    • 1 (MN beat DL)
    • 4 (WW beat LD, FH beat WH, CN beat AH, CN beat DY)

2 wins in Ulster

1 win in Leinster

2 wins in the qualifiers – 1 in R1, 1 in R3

22 games in which Div 1 or 2 teams beat 3 or 4 – Average winning margins 11.5

________________________________________

2014 Championship

Div 4

  • 1 win (TP beat LS)

Div 3

  • 2 wins (LD beat DY, CN beat WH)

3 wins in the qualifiers – 2 in R1, 1 in R3

16 games in which Div 1 or 2 teams beat 3 or 4 – Average winning margins 8.3

________________________________________

2015 Championship

Div 4

  • 1 win (AM beat LS)

Div 3

  • 4 wins (SO beat RN, WX beat DN, FH beat RN, FH beat WH)

1 win in Connacht

4 wins in the qualifiers – 2 in R1, 1 in R3, 1 in R4

21 games in which Div 1 or 2 teams beat 3 or 4 – Average winning margins 10.5

________________________________________

2016 Championship

Div 4

  • No wins

Div 3

  • 6 wins
    • 4 (TP beat CK, LD beat DN, LD beat MN, CE beat RN)
    • 2 (TP beat DY, TP beat GY)

1 win in Munster

5 wins in the qualifiers – 1 in R1, 1 in R2, 2 in R4, 1 in QF

18 games in which Div 1 or 2 teams beat 3 or 4 – Average winning margins 8.5

________________________________________

2017 Championship

Div 4

  • No wins

Div 3

  • 3 wins
    • 1 (TP beat CN)
    • 2 (AH beat FH, AH beat KE)

2 wins in the qualifiers – 1 in R1, 1 in R2 1 in R4

20 games in which Div 1 or 2 teams beat 3 or 4 – Average winning margins 9.05

________________________________________

2018 Championship

Div 4

  • 3 wins
    • 1 (CW beat KE)
    • 2 (CW beat LH, LM beat LH)

Div 3

  • 3 wins
    • 1 (FH beat MN)
    • 2 (LD beat MH, AH beat CE)

3 wins in Leinster

1 win in Ulster

2 wins in the qualifiers – 1 in R2, 1 in R3

22 games in which Div 1 or 2 teams beat 3 or 4 – Average winning margins 12.3

________________________________________

Below shows the league division each team was in between 2008-2018

08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Antrim (AM) 4 4 3 2 3 3 4 4 4 3 4
Armagh (AH) 2 2 2 1 1 2 2 3 2 3 3
Carlow (CW) 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Cavan (CN) 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 2
Clare (CE) 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 2 2
Cork (CK) 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2
Derry (DY) 1 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 2 2 3
Donegal (DL) 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 1
Down (DN) 3 3 2 1 1 1 2 2 1 2 2
Dublin (D) 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Fermanagh (FH) 3 2 3 4 4 3 3 3 2 2 3
Galway (GY) 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 1
Kerry (KY) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Kildare (KE) 1 2 2 2 2 1 1 2 3 2 1
Kilkenny (KK) 4 4 4 4 4
Laois (LS) 1 2 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 3 4
Leitrim (LM) 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Limerick (LK) 3 3 4 3 4 4 3 3 3 4 4
London (LN) 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Longford (LD) 3 3 4 4 3 2 3 4 3 3 3
Louth (LH) 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 3 4 3 2
Mayo (MO) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Meath (MH) 2 2 2 2 2 3 2 2 2 2 2
Monaghan (MN) 2 2 1 1 2 3 2 1 1 1 1
Offaly (OY) 4 3 3 3 3 4 3 4 3 3 3
Roscommon (RN) 2 3 3 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 2
Sligo (SO) 3 4 3 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Tipperary (TP) 4 3 2 3 3 4 4 3 3 3 2
Tyrone (TE) 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 2 1 1
Waterford (WD) 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Westmeath (WH) 2 1 2 3 2 2 1 2 3 4 3
Wexford (WX) 3 2 3 3 3 2 3 3 4 4 3
Wicklow (WW) 4 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 4

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