2019 served up another competitive Ulster Senior Football Championship with 17 goals and 285 points, intriguing tactical battles, more emerging young talent and Cavan reaching their first provincial decider in 18 years. But it was the consistently impressive Tír Conaill Men who retained the Anglo-Celt Cup, making it 5 title wins from the past 8 seasons.
Here at Performa Sports we've put together an Ulster SFC Team of the Year based on collated stats from across the 2019 Ulster Championship. We have looked at individual player performances using a consistent set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) including Kickouts, Attacks, Shots from Play, Scoreable Frees, Tackles, Fouls, Bookings, Assists, as well as, Possessions won and lost. Each KPI was assigned a weighted value ranging from -3 to +3 to add a layer of influence to the impact of the KPI - we've labelled this as a Performa Sports Rating (PSR). This PSR value provides us with a deeper insight into the influence each player has on the pitch. All of the data was collected using the Performa Sports iPad app which allowed us to produce a data driven team selection.
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Team selection is based on Performa Sports Rating (PSR) of the Ulster Senior Football Championship.
1 Shaun Patton – Donegal (Avg. PSR 27)
No surprises that one of the best keepers in Ireland claims the number 1 jersey in the Ulster Championship Team of the Year. With the highest kickout retention rate in the province at 90% (57/63), the St. Eunan's net-minder played a key role in the attacking and defensive platforms for Donegal.
2 Paddy McGrath – Donegal (Avg. PSR 27)
Donegal's Mr. Reliable slots in at number 2. The corner back played in each round for the Ulster Champions and was able to quickly transition between defence and attack. Paddy achieved 6 turnovers won, 10 kickouts won and an impressive 94% tackle efficiency. He also contributed at the other end of the pitch with 8 attacks, and assisted 0-05 for his teammates.
3 Padraig Faulkner – Cavan (Avg. PSR 22)
The first of six Cavan players to make the Ulster Championship Team of the Year. Aside from his black card after 27 mins of the drawn game with Armagh, Padraig played every minute for Cavan achieving 51 possessions. He won 2 turnovers and 8 kickouts for his team as well as contributing in the attacking third with 8 attacks, assisting 0-02 and scoring 1 point from play.
4 Conor Moynagh – Cavan (Avg. PSR 37)
The second Cavan player in the full back line, Conor Moynagh played a key role in his county's resurgence under Mickey Graham's new reign. He achieved the highest individual player possession count (126) in this year's Ulster SFC (over 4 games). He won 12 kickouts (50% of these were short from his keeper) and was an attacking threat with 13 attacks, assisted 1-03 and scored 4 points from play. Conor also had the highest average PSR in the full back line for the Championship.
5 Conor Rehill – Cavan (Avg. PSR 36)
The Crosserlough clubman made a real impression in the half back line. A tenacious competitor he won 13 kickouts, including the highest number of break balls won (10) for the Championship. As an attacking threat he had 17 attacks, assisted 0-03 and scored 2 points from play. Conor was also defensively sound with 78% tackle efficiency and 2 turnovers won.
6 Killian Clarke – Cavan (Avg. PSR 27)
Our number 6 was a consistent performer who was assigned a number of containment roles. He managed his defensive duties well with 76% tackle efficiency and forcing 2 turnovers. He also linked defence to attack with 9 attacks, assisted 0-04 and scored 1 point from play.
7 Ryan McHugh – Donegal (Avg. PSR 36)
Kilcar's composed 'ball-handler' is a key link man for Donegal. Averaging 28 possessions per game with a 96% retention rate McHugh was difficult to dispossess and contributed 15 attacks, assisted 0-01 and scored 2 points from play.
8 Hugh McFadden – Donegal (Avg. PSR 41)
Our MVP in the Ulster SFC Final with an impressive Performa Sports Rating of 49, the Killybegs footballer was a towering performer throughout the Championship for Donegal. He managed 101 possessions in 3 games losing the ball only twice while contributing strongly to both defence and attack. He won 7 kickouts, achieved 11 attacks setting up 0-04 and scored 2 points from play and was defensively solid with 84% tackle efficiency.
9 Gearoid McKiernan – Cavan (Avg. PSR 36)
A pivotal link man between defence and attack for Cavan, McKiernan had 100 possessions, including winning 6 kickouts, contributing 17 attacks and assisting 8 points. The attacking midfielder had an impressive scoring accuracy of 71%, scoring 0-15(7f) which was 19% of his team's total points for the Championship.
10 Richard Donnelly – Tyrone (Avg. PSR 39)
Tyrone's sole representative on the 2019 Ulster Championship Team of the Year is Richard Donnelly who achieved an impressive 75% shot accuracy scoring 5 points from play in two games. The Trillick footballer also displayed smart team play with 12 attacks assisting 1 goal and 3 points.
11 Dara McVeety – Cavan (Avg. PSR 38)
The sixth Cavan player to make the Ulster Championship Team of the Year, McVeety was a key driver behind the Breffni men's route to their first provincial final in 18 years. With 99 possessions, the centre half forward achieved the highest number of attacks for the Ulster Championship (33) including the highest number of carries retained (15 over 4 games). The Crosserlough clubman scored 10 points from play in addition to assisting 0-14 for his team (the highest personal score assists for the Championship), whilst also being defensively sound with 94% tackle efficiency.
12 Jamie Brennan – Donegal (Avg. PSR 31)
Our final half forward is Bundoran's Jamie Brennan, another exciting young talent from Donegal who really made his mark in this year's Ulster Championship. A constant attacking threat he scored 2-11 from play (67% shot accuracy) and assisted 5 points.
13 Patrick McBrearty – Donegal (Avg. PSR 32)
McBrearty recovered from a serious cruciate injury sustained in last year's Ulster Final to retain his place on the Ulster Championship Team of the Year. The Kilcar clubman improved with each game scoring 0-12(4f) with a total shot accuracy of 63%. With 18 attacks he also assisted a further 7 points from play.
14 Michael Murphy – Donegal (Avg. PSR 42)
Once again the number 14 jersey goes to one of Ulster's outstanding footballers Michael Murphy. Such is the game awareness and composed team play of the Glenswilly clubman that his positional play will vary between different zones on the field of play. With 91 possessions and 11 attacks, Murphy scored 0-12(6f) (63% total shot accuracy) and assisted an additional 6 points. His centre field play saw him win 8 kickouts and his defensive strength was evidenced with a 92% tackle efficiency.
15 Rian O'Neill – Armagh (Avg. PSR 35)
The Crossmaglen footballer made a real impression in his debut Championship season with Armagh. A constant attacking threat for the Orchard County, the 21 year old was the top scorer in the Ulster Championship with 0-18(11f) (61% total shot conversion). He had 65 possessions, 19 attacks and assisted 1 goal and 3 points from play. His strong work ethic was also evidenced by 25 tackles over four games (the highest tackle count for any of our 6 forwards on the team of the year).