Saturday 21 September 2019

A good start more than half the battle

The stats show the importance of having a good first half. Stock photo
The stats show the importance of having a good first half. Stock photo

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Lead at half-time and win the game! That has certainly been the trend in All-Ireland football finals, where over the last 30 games 19 of the teams that led at the interval won.

Seven teams who trailed went on to win, while in four cases it was either level at the break or the game ended in a draw.

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Interestingly, Dublin won twice (against Mayo in 2013 and 2017 replay) after trailing at half-time, but in both cases the margin was only a point.

The last reasonably substantial turnaround in a final was in 2002 when Armagh trailed Kerry by 0-11 to 0-7 at half-time, but won the second half by 1-5 to 0-3 to become All-Ireland champions for the first time.

The stats show the importance of having a good first half and despite their second-half comeback against Tyrone, Kerry will be acutely aware of the dangers of falling behind Dublin, who are experts at closing out, games once they work their way into a lead.

As for coincidence, the last year in decades have been good to Kerry, who won the All-Ireland in 2009-1979-1969-1959-1939-1929. Dublin's only end-of-decade success was in 1899.

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