For the first time in almost 20 years, Tipperary’s senior hurling management team will have to plan without magnificent netminder Brendan Cummins who has just announced his retirement from the game.
Cummins, who had close to a 20-year association with the Tipperary seniors, admitted it was time to move on to spend more time with his family.
The 38-year-old, who has made more championship appearances (73) than any other inter-county hurler, admitted he knew at the beginning of the season that this would be his final year. And, he really went out on a high, bringing a level of consistency to his game that has been his hallmark from the very outset. Apart from a brief hiatus during the Michael Babs Keating second era, Cummins has been Tipperary’s number 1 - a fact supported by his five Allstar awards. Ironically, it was Babs who introduced Brendan Cummins to senior inter county hurling when he brought him in to the squad back in 1993.
An epic defeat to Kilkenny at Nowlan Park at the beginning of July was his final game. “It was probably the most emotional I’d been after a game. When the full-time whistle blew that day, I fell to my knees,” he recalled.
Cummins is adamant he has no more to give and it’s time for his life to move in a different direction. “I do genuinely believe that it’s time for somebody else to take the role forward. I don’t want to stop some young fella progressing his career because I waited a year too long,” he said.
“I have me, my family and Tipperary hurling to think of. I’d like to think that I’ve done the right thing for all three,” said the man who played under Babs, Nicky English, Michael Doyle, Liam Sheedy, Eamon O’Shea, Declan Ryan and Len Gaynor
Brendan made his league debut for Tipperary in November 1993, in a National Hurling League tie against Waterford in Cappoquin, and made his championship bow against the same opposition at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on May 21st, 1995. He finishes as a five-time All Star, the holder of five Munster SHC medals and four National League titles. A three-time Railway Cup winner with Munster, he won the All-Ireland Poc Fada a record seven times.
Cummins cited family considerations as his main reason for calling it a day in the blue and gold. Married to Pamela, he is father to Paul (5) and Sarah, who will be a year old in a fortnight.