The outside of the boot, A dying art or a sign of the times?

It’s one of the hardest skills in the game to master but when executed correctly there’s no better sight in Gaelic football. But sadly it’s a skill that seems to have drifted out of our game in recent times. Across this weekends semi-finals there was 112 attempted shots but NONE were taken with the outside of the boot. Dublin and Cavan had 55 shots between them on Saturday night , Tipperary and Mayo had 57 attempts today. This seems to be as a result of the systematic mentality that’s in the modern game players are coached and drilled not to give the ball away and retain possession at all costs, nobody wants to be the one to take on the responsibility from distance or a tight angle because it will be a black mark against their name when the management sit down to pick the team for the next day their stats man in the stand will have it recorded and it will show player X gave the ball away four times today and they will be dreading going to the video analysis meeting on Tuesday night.Dublin have set the blueprint for every team in the country , to be patient not doing anything stupid always working it to the right man In the best position keep recycling the ball until a gap appears 25/30 metres from goal around the edge of the D and clipping it over with the instep.

In comparison to the 2013 semi-finals there was 99 shots attempted in total and 17 were with the outside of the boot. Mayo and Tyrone had 49 shots in total and 11 with the outside of the boot, Keith Higgins,Chris Barrett and Ciaran McGinley all got up from defence to slice one over while Alan Dillon and Darren McCurry represented the forwards. Dublin and Kerry had 50 shots between them and 6 with the outside of the boot.

Team Breakdown


TeamTotal shotsInside of bootOutside of boot


TeamTotal shotsInside of bootOutside of boot

Ciaran McDonald and Diarmuid Connolly are two players who spring to mind that loved to have a go off the outside of the boot and they were pretty good at it too. McDonald kicked some beautiful scores in Croke park from sidelines , tight angles and from 50 metres out Connolly was the same , in the 2019 drawn all Ireland final he had a go off the outside of his right from distance and it was the first time a Dublin player had attempted a shot from outside the 45 metre line since Diarmuid Connolly in 2016. That stat tells you all you need to know we are unlikely to see these type of scores anymore because it just isn’t encouraged anymore while the game has moved on in terms of professionalism , strength and conditioning , video analysis , psychology , nutrition etc maybe we are losing this type of ambitious play that supporters love to see.

Overall breakdown


YearTotal shotsInside of the bootOutside of the bootPercentage of outside of the boot

Published by cianj13

ferbane and offaly footballer sports journalist email -

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