The stats that show just how dominant Dublin are at home
Prior to their defeat to Kerry in Letterkenny last weekend, Donegal manager Rory Gallagher didn't deny that his venue of choice for home league games would always be Ballybofey.
O'Donnell Park in Letterkenny has a magnificent surface with good spectator facilities but Donegal's record there, by comparison with Ballybofey and even Ballyshannon where there is agreement to play one of the three or four home league matches every year, doesn't stack.
The Letterkenny venue was, as Gallagher pointed out in conversation with 'Donegal Sports Hub', a more regular training venue for them than Ballybofey.
But match days have struck a familiar note. In nine games now since league football was restored 10 years ago, they have won just twice. Over the last five years the strike rate is one from five.
In contrast, the unbeaten league and championship streak in Ballybofey stretches to 17 games, back as far as a league defeat to Down in March 2010.
Ironically, there were quite a few conspiracy theories being espoused in deep Kerry accents as to why they were brought so far north in the county for the fixture. Like asking Donegal to come to Cahirciveen proffered one member of the travelling press corps.
Does a venue matter that much? Does home advantage in the Allianz football League carry as much weight as managers and analysts like to think?
'Win your home games' is a familiar refrain but last weekend just five of the 16 teams did just that. Four more were draws leaving seven visiting teams coming away with both points.
Strikingly, just one home team, Tyrone, made home advantage count in the top two divisions, their comfortable win over a much-changed Roscommon team from last year along expected lines.
An analysis of the four divisions over the five years between 2012 and 2016 throws up some clear trends. Last weekend two of the four Division 2 matches ended level, in keeping with the propensity for draws in this division over the previous years. There were seven from 28 games in 2016, one in four, and 20 overall from 140 games, one in seven, over the same period.
That's twice as much as Division 1 with much the same ratio in Division 3 and 4 also.
Home wins in the league since 2012 are at just 51.93 per cent. Split the 50 draws over that same period of time and home influence rises to 56.33 per cent.
Not surprisingly, Dublin have the best 'home' record given their dominance in four of the last five competitions. Under Jim Gavin's management, Dublin have lost just five league games from 37 played, including last Sunday's win in Cavan with three draws (Donegal away and Mayo and Tyrone at home).
Two of the losses under Gavin have been in Croke Park (Cork in 2014, Tyrone in 2013) with a further loss over the five-year period coming under Pat Gilroy when Kerry won the opening game of 2012.
But since moving their league base to Croke Park as part of the 'spring series' in 2011, Dublin win ratio, inclusive of the draw split, running at 78.95 per cent.
The varying strengths of the divisions has an obvious impact which may reflect why Clare feature as high as joint-third, a position they share with Cork who have lost just four of their 18 games (one draw) since.
Statistically, Division 3 has the most frequent ratio of home wins, 84 from 140 for a 60pc success rate, 63.2pc when a share of the draw is factored in.
2012-2016 Allianz football league records
- Home wins – 75
- Draws – 10
- Home losses – 55
- Home success rate – 53.57 per cent
- Success inclusive of draw split – 57.14 per cent.
- Home wins – 67
- Draws – 20
- Home losses – 53
- Home success rate – 47.86 per cent
- Success inclusive of draw split – 55 per cent
- Home wins – 84
- Draws – 9
- Home losses – 47
- Home success rate – 60 per cent
- Inclusive of draw split – 63.2 per cent
- Home wins – 69
- Draws – 11
- Home losses – 68
- Home success rate – 46.62 per cent
- Success inclusive of draw split – 50.27 per cent.
- Home success rate – 51.93 per cent.
- Success inclusive of draw split - 56.33 per cent.
By County w-d-l (% with draw share)
- 1 Dublin 14-2-3 (78.95%)*
- 2 Donegal 12-2-3 (76.47)
- 3 Clare 13-1-4 (75), Cork 13-1-4 (75),
Sligo 13-1-4 (75), Fermanagh 12-3-3 (75)
- 7 Monaghan 13-0-5 (72.22), Wexford 13-0-5 (72.22)
- 9 Roscommon 11-2-5 (66.66), Tipperary 11-2-5 (66.66)
- 11 Longford 11-0-6 (64.7), Derry 9-4-4 (64.7)
- 13 Antrim 10-3-5 (63.88)
- 14 Tyrone 9-3-5 (61.76)
- 15 Leitrim 10-1-7 (58.33)
- 16 Kerry 9-1-7 (55.88), Galway 7-5-5 (55.88), Meath 9-1-7 (55.88)
- 19 Armagh 8-4-6 (55.55)
- 20 Kildare 9-0-8 (52.94)**
Cavan 9-0-8 (52.94)
- 22 Limerick 9-1-8 (52.77)
- 23 Mayo 8-1-8 (50), Down 8-1-8 (50)
Westmeath 8-1-8 (50), Offaly 8-1-8 (50), Louth 8-1-8 (50)
- 28 Wicklow 7-1-10 (41.6)
- 29 Laois 6-2-10 (38.88)
- 30 Waterford 6-1-11 (33.33)
- 31 Carlow 3-1-14 (19.4)
- 32 London 1-2-15 (11.1)
- 33 Kilkenny 0-0-4 (0)***
* Kildare conceded home advantage to Dublin for the 2013 league game due to capacity issues in St Conleth’s Park. It’s classed here as a ‘home’ game for Dublin.
** Kildare played their home match against Tyrone in Croke Park. It’s classed here as a home game for Kildare.
*** Kilkenny did not play after 2012.