Lamh Dhearg made history this year when they won the Antrim championship for the first time since 1992, beating West Belfast rivals St John’s 0-15 to 0-13. It was an absorbing final and was won due to a mixture of bravado and talent from the Hannahstown team.
However, the use of the Performa Sports data analysis system also played its part. Kevin Herron was the man holding the iPad for the Red Hands during the 2017 season and he says that it had a significant role during their successful season.
“It was something that the managers there, Mairtin Lynch, Terry McCrudden, Paul Lynch were very interested in. “At half time the players would have went in, and I would have stood with the managers and went through the stats with them. It is something that they would have spoken with the players at half time.”
Whatever was said during the half time in the County final was important. Lamh Dhearg were only trailing by one, and under heavy pressure went on to grind out a two point victory. Herron believes that Performa played its part. “I really enjoyed it. I had nothing but positives results using it.”
He first started using Performa Sports a year and a half ago, but not for Lamh Dhearg. “I first started using it in school. I work as a classroom assistant in St Mary’s CBGS, Paddy Cunningham had asked me to do stats on the Mageean Cup campaign last year. “Danny [Turley] contacted Paddy and asked if we would like to try Performa Sports. It all really went from there.”
St Louis Ballymena had enjoyed great success using the Performa system in 2015 when they won the Mageean Cup Schools hurling tournament for the first time in 27 years. That was the perfect selling point for St Mary’s CBGS who had lost to Ballymena in 2015. They had a strong team, a side that had won at every age group in the school. But the Performa Sports system would give them that advantage.
Herron was well aware of the use of stats analysis applications, he’d used a GAA sports app before. But this new system took it to another level.
“Performa Sports goes in to way more detail, it gives you a better insight, and involves video analysis, and it is easy to link the stats to someone videoing the game. “It’s easy to link them both together.
“We were able to highlight where we were going right and where we were going wrong in our games. Also used it for the MacRory Cup last year. “The first game we used it, against Enniskillen, we won, so that was a good start.”
Herron said the strength of the system is how it links to video. “We were able to see how often we turned the ball over, how many mistakes we made and how the mistakes came about. “Instead of having to trawl through the video of the games, I was able to sync the stats to the video, then you have every incident on the video tagged with the stats. It’s easy to pinpoint a mistake or a strength. That’s one of the best things about it.”
And he also said that the Mageean Cup players responded well to the high level of analysis. “I think they really enjoyed it, they would come up and say, how were the stats today? They really bought into it and there was a big interest in them seeing where they went wrong and they could improve.
“After every game I got the stats to Paddy and it was something that they worked on in training. “If they weren’t winning break balls, they worked on that, and for giving away fouls they would have worked on tackling. The Stats allowed them to tailor their training sessions.”
Herron said that he plans to continue to use Performa sports with Lamh Dhearg in the new season. And he says that every club and school should be making it their business to look into using Video data analysis systems like Performa Sports. “It doesn’t matter if you are a club or school, it works for everyone. I know ourselves (St Mary’s) and St Louis Ballymena use it. It is very beneficial.”