As Brian Cody’s new look Kilkenny team are navigating their way through the 2018 All Ireland Championship. We are going compare the winning Kilkenny teams over the last of ten years with the new batch of cats.
One element of Kilkenny’s All-Ireland winning dominance was based on their ability in the air. Regardless of their position, every player had ability to win an aerial duel and catch a sliotar from the sky. It was a skill which gave them an advantage over teams while also energising the Kilkenny supporters in the stadium.
Like throwing nuts to monkeys” , were the words of Cyril Farrell when speaking about teams hitting a high ball in to a Kilkenny backline.
Here we are going to compare the 2018 Kilkenny team’s aerial ability in some of their league and championship games with the team that won the 2009, 2011 and 2012 All-Ireland final.
How Cody’s new cats compare to the cats of old in the air?
In the three games analysed from 2009, 2011 and 2012 the cats made 63 clean catches from the skies. When we compare the class of 2018 we can see a regression in the amount of aerial duals won by Kilkenny. In the three games analysed they made 34 clean catches from the air.
Cats of Old
- 21 clean catches from the air in the 2009 All Ireland Final
- 20 clean catches from the air in the 2011 All Ireland Final
- 22 clean catches from the air in the 2012 All Ireland Final (drawn game)
People often make the comment that Tipperary and Kilkenny games take on a life of their own and form does not matter going in to the game. With regards to Kilkenny’s ability to win clean possession in the air this is true.
In the league final against Tipperary, the cats won 17 clean catches from the air while only making 16 clean catches in the other two games we analysed from 2018.
- 10 clean catches from the air against Galway in the 2018 Leinster championship.
- 18 clean catches from the air against Tipperary in the 2018 League Final.
- 6 clean catches from the air against Wexford in their 2018 league semi final.
How have Kilkenny dealt with no longer being masters of the sky?
We will go through Kilkenny’s use of their goalkeeper Paul Murphy and how they have adjusted their use of the ball as the team evolves over the summer.