Green Monster: What can your team learn from Limerick’s 2018 hurling machine?

Limerick’s gritty collectivism was the story of the 2018 hurling championship. The side coached by Paul Kinnerk illustrated what hurling played at its best looks like and presented us with a welcome reminder that individual brilliance is not the only sort of brilliance worth celebrating. The basis for the following statistical study of the Limerick performances is to identify some of the more interesting patterns associated with those displays in the hope that others can learn from such excellence.

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A formation is perfect before the game – everyone is in the right place. The problem is that then the game starts and the players ruin it by running around

Washington Etchamendi, Uruguayan football manager

If you are not excited about the clash of Cuala and Na Piarsaigh then you bloody well should be

This Saturday at Croke Park an extraordinary Cuala team seek to emulate the achievement of Sarsfields (1993-94), Athenry (2000-01), Birr (2002-03) and Portumna (2008-09) and place All-Ireland club titles back-to-back. Standing in their way, however, are former champions Na Piarsaigh. Indeed, for fans of club hurling Saturday’s contest represents the dream decider: the past two champions pitted against one another on the grandest of stages with each side capable of reaching hurling heights which adjectives cannot really scale. If you are not excited about the clash of Cuala and Na Piarsaigh then you bloody well should be.
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Galway’s All-Ireland success suggests a new vocabulary is required to describe how hurling is played

Writing in 2015 for the Irish Examiner Paddy Heaney argued that a new vocabulary was required to describe the roles performed by Gaelic football players. Similarly it seems that we must learn to interpret the game of hurling and, especially, the positions of players and their associated roles within teams differently. Indeed, the performance of Micheál Donoghue’s Galway team during the 2017 championship has illustrated as much.
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Work rate deficit illustrates how far Tipperary have strayed from their hurling identity

When a death occurs under suspicious circumstances it is standard practice to hold an inquest – such a procedure assists with the grieving process. The same goes for unexpected championship defeats. And, since the surprise reversal suffered at the hands of Cork in the quarter-final of the Munster Senior Hurling Championship the air in Tipperary has been thick with sulphur. But rather than search for heads to mount on pikes we decided to take a measured look at the statistical performance of the Tipperary team and thereby assess how far Michael Ryan’s hurlers need to travel in order to re-discover the hard-working identity associated with the team in 2016. Continue reading

The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.

David Viscott, author