After 90 games, 198 goals scored, 250+ players togging out & a brand new WatchLOI streaming solution, the SSE Airtricity Premier Division 202 season has ended. Shamrock Rovers went unbeaten across the interrupted season, Cork City and Shels have left to the stage to play 1st Division football; replaced by Drogheda United and Longford Town.

We have also watched every minute of every Premier Division game, collecting over 189,000 data points on our performance data metrics. Covering everything from Ronan Boyce’s sole, late appearance against Shels in October to Ronan Coughlan’s 393 passing attempts over 1620 mins this season. Examples of the depth of analysis carried out by our team of analysts:

· 38,593 defensive actions

· 19,637 attacking actions

· 122,780 actions in possession

· 5,234 set piece data metrics

Our selections are based solely on performance data output. Apart from the GK choices, all selections are objective and chosen ONLY on data rankings. I am sure that they will cause plenty of conversations.

To be included in the selection process, players must have played (on average) a minimum of 60 mins per game, resulting in a minimum game-time requirement of 1080 mins over the season. So, without further delay, the 2020 PlayerStat Data’s Team of the Season!!!!!

GK – Alan Mannus (Shamrock Rovers): As mentioned in previous articles, our GK data collection is still a work in progress. This means that our GK selection is based on experienced opinion (one analyst has over 25 years’ GK experience & we have enlisted the services of an ex-LOI GK for our GK data model creation).

7 goals conceded in 18 games (3 since the restart), important saves that went unnoticed, a minimal fuss approach to all facets of his game and a solid base to allow Rovers to pressure and push opponents back towards their own goal. It is hard to look past Alan. A well-deserved Number 1 in this team.

Notable exclusions: Brendan Clarke (St. Pat’s), Ed McGinty (Sligo Rovers) and Mark McGinley (Finn Harps). If this were a less dominant Rovers season, these three would certainly be pushing very hard for the #1 spot.

Brendan Clarke was well above average in possession across the season, 8 clean sheets from 18 games and played the keeper/sweeper role to perfection against several sides this season.

Ed McGinty pulled off some of the saves of the season, notably against Dundalk in the final game of the season! A save for the ages, showing his agility and his game improvement since the end of last season. Add into this, his involvement in the exciting U21 squad in the last number of months, he is a keeper with a bright future ahead.

Mark McGinley was a personal favourite at PlayerStat Data. Used every part of his anatomy to keep the ball out of the net, with several performances where it seemed to be him against the opposition at times. An all-action GK & key figure in Harps’ Great Escape.

RB – Rory Feely (St. Pat’s): The player stands out in the datasets, compared with all other qualifying right-backs. The right-back with the highest:

· Def 1v1 success per 90 mins

· Def Aerial success per 90 & overall Def Aerial Success %

· Clearance success per 90

· Progressive Regains %

· Att Aerial success per 90

He came in at second highest in: successful passes per 90, pass completion %, progressive pass completion % and efforts on goal.

He was pushed hard by Andy Lyons (Bohs), but Rory is the clear data leader among the LOI Premier Division right backs this season.

LB – Tyreke Wilson (Waterford FC): A very close-run thing between Tyreke and Sam Todd (Finn Harps) for the LB spot (Sam having played at LB or LWB on 8 occasions this season). Tyreke was a strong player for Waterford at both ends of the pitch – scoring once, assisting three times and directly creating 18 chances for others (with set piece deliveries wavering between brilliant and “can I take that again please?”).

Wilson stood out from the other LBs across:

· Successful Tackles per 90 mins

· Blocked Crosses

· Def Aerial Success %

· Successful crosses per 90

· Pass Completion %

His consistency at LB is enhanced by coming in second highest across: goals scored, def 1v1 success per 90 (and overall def 1v1 success %), clearance success per 90, progressive regains %, blocked shots and att 1v1 success per 90.

CB – Roberto Lopes & Liam Scales (Sham. Rovers), Jake Davidson (Waterford FC):

Roberto Lopes has had a standout season, winning the League at Rovers, battling with Ibrahimovic in Tallaght, and featuring in Cape Verde Islands’ international squads. On the field here, he was consistently in the top three CBs in goals scored (and shot efficiency %), Def. Aerial success per 90, Def 1v1 success per 90, Crucial Def. Actions, Clearance success per 90 and Progressive Regains %. His time in possession was outstanding too, leading all CBs (and the rest of the league) in pass completion %s and progressive pass completion %.

Liam Scales was another key figure in Rovers conceding just 7 goals all season, a strong LCB option. Similar to Lopes, he was consistently in the top three among fellow CBs in Def 1v1 success per 90, Tackle Success per 90, Def Aerial Success per 90, Def Aerial overall success %, successful passes per 90 and across pass completion %, progressive pass attempt % and progressive pass completion %.

Jake Davidson isn’t one that would jump to the top of many peoples’ lists but since joining Waterford before the restart, he settled well into his role in a back 4 & back 5, becoming one of Waterford’s most consistent players. Davidson consistently made the top three among fellow CBs in Def 1v1 success per 90, Clearance Success per 90, Progressive Regains %, Blocked Shots, Blocked Crosses, overall Tackle success % and Def Aerial success %.

Notable exclusions: Kyle McFadden-Callan (previously Sligo Rovers), Luke McNally (St. Pat’s) and Eoin Toal (Derry City).

CM – Aaron McEneff (Sham. Rovers) and Niall Morahan (Sligo Rovers)

It is not a massive stretch to suggest that Aaron McEneff is seen as one of the best players in the LOI. McEneff was dynamic from box to box, ranking highly among fellow CMs and DMs in defensive metrics (Def 1v1 success % and Progressive Regains). In an attacking sense, the player scored 3 times, directly created just under 1 chance per game for fellow teammates (assisting for two goals). Possession-wise, the player features consistently high in the rankings. In the top 3 for successful passes per 90, pass completion % and progressive pass completion %.

Niall Morahan at Sligo Rovers is one with a bright future. Having started the season between DM and right-back, he settled into the central role after the restart. He stood out in a massively competitive area of the pitch and Sligo have done some excellent business in getting the player to sign for the 2021 season. The player featured in the top three central midfielders across: Def 1v1v success per 90, Def Aerial success per 90, Clearance success per 90, shot efficiency %; ranking consistently across pass completion %s and overall tackle success %.

Notable CM exclusions: Gary Deegan (Shelbourne), Robbie Weir (Waterford) and David Cawley (Sligo Rovers).

Floating AM – Jack Byrne (Sham. Rovers). His numbers were stunning: scoring 9 goals, 8 assists, 6 pre-assists, 39 efforts on goal and creating 46 chances for his teammates. He was also in the top three CMs and AMs in Att 1v1 success per 90, efforts on goal, chances created per 90 and successful passes per 90. Plenty more data reasons for the player being involved in the Team of The Season, but his status at the finest player in the League for many years does not need much justification.

Floating Winger – Danny Grant (Bohs). One of the best performers since the restart. 7 goals and 2 assists across his 1267 mins; stand-out in dribble attempts, shot efficiency %, efforts on goal and Att 1v1 success per 90. Equally as threatening at LW or RW, the player is given a slight floating role here to accommodate him in a 5-3-2 setup. His performances this season have also seen him called up to the exciting and promising U21 squad; a reward for his blistering winger form since returning to the starting XI against Cork City on 02/08.

Notable exclusions: Michael Duffy (Dundalk), Walter Figueira (Derry City).

ATT – Patrick Hoban (Dundalk). Sometimes, the simplest stats are the most telling, especially for strikers. Top scorer for yet another season with 10 goals, Hoban makes our XI based on this stat alone. His presence as a target man was consistent as well, ranking highest among ATTs for Efforts on Goal and Att Aerial successes per 90 mins. With 51 established touches in the opposition box as well, Hoban’s physical strength and hold-up play were key to Dundalk getting up the pitch and putting pressure on the opposition’s goal. Admittedly, he was pushed remarkably close by Andre Wright (Bohs) and the ever-improving Ronan Coughlan (Sligo Rovers), but Hoban had just enough (along with his goals) to ensure a position in our Team of the Season.