Netminder supreme Brendan Cummins calls time on Tipp top career
Glittering intercounty career ends after a record 73 senior championship matches
Goalkeeper Brendan Cummins has announced his retirement from intercounty hurling after a record 73 senior championship appearances since his senior debut in 1993. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
And the 38-year-old, who won All-Ireland SHC medals in 2001 and 2010, revealed how he shed tears following Tipp’s defeat to Kilkenny at Nowlan Park in July, knowing it was his final game for the Premier County.
Cummins cited family considerations as his main reason for calling it a day in the blue and gold. Married to Pamela, he father to Paul (5) and Sarah, who will be a year old in a fortnight.
And Cummins explained: “It’s just that I don’t want to leave my family any more to give the commitment. The jersey means too much to do something half at it.
‘It has to be 100 per cent’
“When I’m playing with Tipp or involved in any capacity, it has to be 100 per cent and everything else is secondary.
“I’m not prepared to do that any more. 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. 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.”
Cummins continued: “I’d like to say thanks for the support from my family, the support from Tipperary fans and from the club (Ballybacon-Grange).
“And as I leave, our (kitman) John “Hotpoint” Hayes remains the longest serving member of the panel! He looked after me right from the start, until the day he handed me my last jersey.”
Cummins made his 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.
As to his longevity and consistency, he revealed: “It wasn’t so much about competing against another goalie coming in, the competition was Davy Fitzgerald (Clare) and Damien Fitzhenry (Wexford). That’s where the bar was at for me. That’s where I wanted to be, doing what they were doing.
“I remember in 1995, when Clare won the Munster championship, and we trained after the Munster final, with the Tipp U21s. I met Davy when he was coming out of Semple Stadium.
“We didn’t know each other but I remember looking at him and thinking, ‘Jesus, I’d like what he has’, a Munster senior medal.
“You don’t judge yourself off other goalies coming in – if you’re going to be the best, you judge yourself against the best in history.”
Cummins 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.
But when asked for his career highlight, Cummins goes right back to where it all began, when Ballybacon-Grange clubmate Michael “Babs” Keating handed him his Tipperary senior debut.
Cummins recalls: “Getting the first opportunity that I did below in Cappoquin in November 1993 against Waterford - the game itself went particularly well for me.
“I’d been on the minor team and Babs took a punt on me and threw me in the goals.
“I found out the week of the match that I’d be playing. I met the squad in Cahir and went on the bus. Ken Hogan was a fantastic help to me that day.
“It looked like I could end up taking his place but he just wanted to make sure that the young fella was being looked after.
“Those are the principles that I worked on and if any goalkeeper came in after that, I was going to help him to be the best that he could be.
“I’m at ease with my decision. It’s sad that it has to end but that’s the way for every sportsperson.”