Friday 28 July 2017

Hurlers close to 'negative' footballers for conceding scoring frees

Pauric Mahony, Waterford. Allianz Hurling League, Division 1, Quarter-Final, Waterford v Galway. Walsh Park, Waterford. Picture credit: Piaras ? M?dheach / SPORTSFILE
Pauric Mahony, Waterford. Allianz Hurling League, Division 1, Quarter-Final, Waterford v Galway. Walsh Park, Waterford. Picture credit: Piaras ? M?dheach / SPORTSFILE
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Despite the negativity attached to Gaelic football, arising from some games in this season's Allianz League, figures show that scoring totals from frees are only slightly ahead of hurling.

That will come as a surprise, since hurling is regarded as being much more free-flowing and less susceptible to fouling.

Hence, it's to be expected that a lower percentage of scores would come from frees than in football which, in addition to having a more defensive mindset, has more difficulty over the interpretations of the tackle.

However, there's a relatively small difference between both codes in the percentage of scores from frees.

Of all the totals recorded by the four Division 1 football semi-finalists (Dublin, Monaghan, Cork, Donegal), 28.4pc came from frees, compared with 25pc of the hurling total by Cork, Dublin, Tipperary, Waterford.

Obviously, the capacity of modern-day hurlers to drive the ball huge distances yields a high point return from long-range frees, an opening not available to footballers.

Nonetheless, it's interesting that the differential between scores from frees is less than 4pc.

There are some significant differences in the scoring ratio between frees and open play among various counties.

Over 31pc of Waterford's return has come frees, posted by Pauric Mahony, compared to less than 19pc of Tipperary's yield. Seamus Callanan is Tipp's main free-taker, backed up by John O'Dwyer.

Mahony has pointed 50 frees in Waterford's impressive campaign, where they are the only 1B team in the semi-finals after beating Galway (1A) in the quarter-final.

Patrick Horgan's accuracy from frees accounted for 26.7pc of Cork's total in their six games so far. Dublin, for whom David Treacy and Paul Ryan have been prolific from placed balls, are on 22.8pc.

In football, Dublin (25.2pc) and Cork (25.3pc) had a lower return from frees than Donegal (31.3pc) and Monaghan (32.5pc).

Irish Independent

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