Unbeaten over 18 league games, scored 19 goals more than the next best & conceded just 7 all season. International caps & call-ups, Milan at home and a Cup final to look forward to, a season to remember for Shamrock Rovers.

In this article, we will take a deep dive into the performance data output across the Shamrock Rovers squad this season – all stats highlighted are for players who played a min. of 270 league mins this season.

Goalkeeping

As mentioned in previous articles, our GK model is still under development. Alan Mannus’ performance over the season speaks for itself however, calm in possession, solid when called upon and just 7 goals conceded in 1620 minutes. Minimal fuss when active, a model for any young goalkeeper. Deal with the ball as efficiently as you can and let the outfield players do the talking!

Defensive metrics

13 clean sheets from 18 games, conceding just 3 times since LOI football returned at the end of July. Absolutely brilliant defensive numbers from a side who just powered through games. 6 clean sheets from the last 6 games, even more impressive when the last 4 games were played over the first 9 days of November.

Def 1v1: In our first article, we defined what we tagged as a defensive 1v1. This season, Rhys Marshall was #1 for successful def. 1v1s/90, with 5.27 per 90mins. Liam Scales had the highest number of def 1v1 situations (97) & highest number of successful def 1v1s (60). He doesn’t keep the lead for highest success def 1v1 rate however, this went to Lee Grace with a 65.06% success rate.

Tackles: The left-hand side of the pitch for Rovers stood out in this metric – Neil Farrugia with the highest number of tackles over the season (16), highest number of successful tackles (11) and highest success/90 (1.19). Liam Scales had the second highest number of tackle attempts (14), joint highest successful tackles (11) and second for successful tackles/90 (0.89). This is where the left-sided monopoly ends however, with Joey O’Brien and Roberto Lopes leading the way for tackle success rate over the season, both ending with an 85.71% success rate.

Def Aerial duels: Another metric where several defenders stand out in different ways. Lee Grace leads the way for highest number of aerial duels faced (84) and the highest number of successful duels (59). Roberto Lopes led the way in the successful duels/90 (4.04 per 90 mins) and Liam Scales ended the league season with the highest aerial duel success rate (74.65%). Starting to see why they only conceded 7 all season!

Progressive Regains %: Our final metric for ranking the defensive side of the game is the progressive regain %. As mentioned in our previous article, it gives a greater sense of what a player does once possession is regained. With the adage of attacking from the front, Dean Williams had a 100% complete progressive regain rate. Hugely impressive numbers from over 20 tagged occasions. Joey O’Brien led the way for that wall of Rovers’ central defenders, with an 89.87% progressive regain rate.

Summary: Nearly impossible to choose, based on performance data output alone. Taking all opinion from this decision, considering how well each player stood out across the defensive metrics, makes this a decision not for us at PlayerStat Data. We’ll leave that to the reader (again!!)

Attacking Metrics

Goal Scoring: From 262 efforts on goal this league season, Rovers ended up with 44 goals. Based on shot location only, their total season xG was 36.34 goals, over-performing by just under 8 goals. The goals were spread wider than our previous two clubs, with 14 different goal scorers: Jack Byrne (xG – 3.72) leading the way with 9 goals. A notable mention to Aaron McEneff, scoring 3 from a dynamic midfield position with an xG of 4.08. Huge numbers over 18 games from a player not primarily based in the opponent’s defensive 3rd.

Chances Created: Our earlier articles detailed why the ‘chance created’ metric is a lot clearer when identifying the importance/impact of players in an attacking sense and how skewed the ‘assist’ metric can be. Unsurprisingly, Jack Byrne stands out here. With 46 chances created for teammates (resulting in 2.92 per game), nobody comes close. Aaron Greene came in a distant second place, with 22 chances created for fellow teammates.

Attacking Aerial Duels & Hold Up: As has been the case in our previous articles, the lone striker tends to stand out in these metrics – the only difference being the frequency of the approach of long/direct play and the “isolation” of the attacker from the rest. Aaron Greene leads the squad in both metrics, but with a much lower overall total than in our other articles. For holding the ball up, he had an 86.67% success rate; leading to 0.84 successful occasions per 90. For attacking aerial duels, Greene was involved in more than double the number of anyone else in the squad, with a success rate per 90 mins of 1.10 duels.

Attacking 1v1 & dribbles: This is bound to be an interesting statistic, considering Rovers’ approach to attacking the opposition. Once again, Jack Byrne stands out with the highest number of dribbles (46), highest number of att. 1v1 situations (52) and highest number of successful att. 1v1s per 90 (2.03). Notable mentions to Graham Burke and Neil Farrugia, who were best of the rest across the same metrics.

Summary: Jack Byrne, simple as that. No need for any further interpretation of the stats, an attacking machine and a major component in Rovers’ 44 goals and sheer domination of opponents in their own half.

Possession Metrics

9709 passing attempts were tagged over the 18 games for Shamrock Rovers (both successful and unsuccessful). This was more than double some sides’ passing output. With regards to pass direction:

Are there any surprises, possession-wise? Not especially, but the numbers are OUTSTANDING. As mentioned in our last article, pass completion doesn’t always tell the full story, due to lack of directional data. Gary O’Neill had the highest pass completion rate (94.81%) from 675 passes, coming second in successful passes/90 also (65.16). Roberto Lopes led the way for progressive pass attempt %s (78.73%), a long way ahed of Joey O’Brien in second (68.78%). The pair reverse positions for progressive pass completion rates – with O’Brien completing (92.58%) of his progressive passes and Lopes second with 91.79%. Brilliant numbers.

We haven’t forgotten the expected Jack Byrne reference – he led the way (across the League) with 1252 pass attempts, a possession contribution to the side of 13.34%. He had the highest number of successful passes (1037), followed closely by Lee Grace with 1009 successful passes. Byrne also had the highest successful pass/90 mins output too, with 65.16 successful passes per 90 mins. Stunning numbers.

Player of the Season: We begin each round-up stating that our data collection is completely objective; no opinion, no punditry and no “should have done better there”.

That said, Jack Byrne, is the standout for Shamrock Rovers again this season. I think that our data shows that this was a much more rounded performance by Rovers this season, with a number of players standing out across a wide variety of metrics. But when it comes to his impact in the attacking third and his importance to Rovers’ possession approach, there is nobody else but Jack Byrne!