Leinster peloton can't catch Jim ... stats prove it
It has long since become a cliché that the Leinster SFC is a one-thoroughbred race, but to what extent?
A statistical analysis of Jim Gavin's provincial results since assuming the Dublin hotseat for the 2013 season confirms by how much the rest of the field have been hopelessly cast adrift.
So Westmeath shouldn't bother turning up in Croke Park tomorrow?
Not quite: recent results from last summer and against Carlow a few weeks back show that Dublin's victory margins and scoring ratios are coming down, albeit by scarcely enough to suggest an actual imminent defeat.
Here's the year-by-year breakdown of their Leinster form graph under Gavin ...
RESULTS: Dublin 1-22 Westmeath 0-9 (margin +16); Dublin 4-16 Kildare 1-9 (+16); Dublin 2-15 Meath 0-14 (+7). CUMULATIVE: Dublin 7-53 Rest 1-32 (margin +39). AVERAGE MARGIN: 13pts.
RESULTS: Dublin 2-21 Laois 0-16 (+11); Dublin 2-25 Wexford 1-12 (+16); Dublin 3-20 Meath 1-10 (+16). CUMULATIVE: Dublin 7-66 Rest 2-38 (+43). AVERAGE MARGIN: 14.33pts
RESULTS: Dublin 4-25 Longford 0-10 (+27); Dublin 5-18 Kildare 0-14 (+19); Dublin 2-13 Westmeath 0-6 (+13). CUMULATIVE: Dublin 11-56 Rest 0-30 (+59). AVERAGE MARGIN: 19.67pts.
RESULTS: Dublin 2-21 Laois 2-10 (+11); Dublin 0-21 Meath 0-11 (+10); Dublin 2-19 Westmeath 0-10 (+15). CUMULATIVE: Dublin 4-61 Rest 2-31 (+36). AVERAGE MARGIN: 12pts.
RESULT: Dublin 0-19 Carlow 0-7 (+12).
STAT ATTACK: THE BIG PICTURE
FIVE-YEAR TALLY: Dublin 29-255 Rest 5-138.
AVERAGE SCORE: Dublin 26.31pts (approx 2-20) Rest 11.77pts (less than 0-12).
AVERAGE MARGIN: 14.54pts per game.
BIGGEST WIN: 2015 quarter-final, Dublin 4-25 Longford 0-10 (+27).
SMALLEST WIN: 2013 final, Dublin 2-15 Meath 0-14 (+7).
BEST PERFORMANCE: 2014 final ... Dublin destroyed Meath by 16 points but, in truth, it could have been far more. They led by 20 on the hour, soon after which Dean Rock fluffed a goal chance from point-blank range.
CLOSEST SHAVE: It's all relative, but the 2013 final against Meath. Mick O'Dowd's Royal underdogs applied plenty of first half heat on Stephen Cluxton's kickout en route to leading by 0-9 to 1-4 at the break. But they couldn't sustain the effort and Paul Mannion's goal, just before the hour, put daylight between the sides. The eventual seven-point margin, though, remains the only time in 13 games that Gavin hasn't won a Leinster fixture by double digits.
LEAST CONVINCING: Arguably their most recent, as they struggled for long spells to break down Carlow's massed defence, creating (and missing) just one goal chance. And still they won by 12!
COMPILED BY FRANK ROCHE