Croker chiefs planning new statistics system

CROKE PARK plans to introduce an innovative and comprehensive statistics system similar to that used in Australian Rules Football.

The oval ball code uses a system called ‘Champion Data’ which provides detailed analysis of games and players which can be studied by managers, media and the general supporter.

Such a system is also useful to detect trends in games. For instance, research has shown that the average amount of hand passes in Aussie Rules has jumped from 264 per game in 2006 to 365 in 2009.

“We would be looking at doing something similar along those lines,” said the GAA’s Head of Games Pat Daly.

“It’s all very well giving an opinion on things but there is a need for evidence-based stuff like this.

“There is a need to back it up with stats.

“I was looking at the Irish Examiner there (on Monday) and there was as exhaustive a list of stats there as I have seen anywhere. We will be looking at a system from which we can extrapolate as much information as we can.”

Concrete statistics have traditionally been in short supply in the GAA although Vodafone, one of the three football championship sponsors, has provided a more comprehensive package in recent summers.

Perhaps the most eye-catching statistic to emerge from these is the fact that the ball is actually in play for less than half the 70 minutes in an average football championship encounter.

However, it is still a largely untapped area in the GAA, a fact that was emphasised last week when former Cork manager Billy Morgan all but dismissed their relevance whilst attending a press briefing to promote Vodafone’s big match analysis.

In Australia, player and team performance can be broken down into minute detail with statistics available for the amount of kicks and hand passes made as well as marks, frees for and against, tackles, goals and behinds.

The software is adaptable too. The company which provides the service for the AFL does something similar for cricket, soccer, rugby union and rugby league and claims that it can “readily adapt our services and systems to individual requirements in any sport”.


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