Being linked with roles in Tipp and Waterford, Sheedy’s second coming and ambitions to become a county boss

HIS NAME WAS floated as a contender for vacant managerial posts in Waterford and Tipperary in recent times but neither was ever a viable option for Brendan Cummins to pursue.

Brendan Cummins (centre) was at the launch of the Amanda Stapleton benefit match yesterday.

Source: Piaras Ó Mídheach/SPORTSFILE

He heard he had been nailed down as the favourite to succeed Derek McGrath despite not having any contact with the Waterford county board. Then when speculation about his candidacy in Tipperary emerged, Cummins let word drift back to the county board that work and family commitments would prevent him from coming under consideration.

His old mentor Liam Sheedy has got the job in Tipperary, something which has enthused Cummins as he weighed in with his support for the 2010 All-Ireland winning boss.

And while he did not enter the race this time, the ambition to become Tipperary hurling boss in the future, remains strong with the goalkeeping great.

“Just the timing this time around wasn’t really right for me with work. It’s amazing that I was installed as the favourite for the Waterford job even though I didn’t speak to anyone from Waterford. No phone call.

“I’m in a position, working with Aviva now as an account manager down around the south-east. Then you find yourself having to ring your boss saying, “Look, I’m not getting involved with Waterford. I love what I’m doing here in Aviva.”

“It’s flattering but there is a knock-on effect. It’s a competitive world we’re all living in with our day-to-day jobs. Every company sees an inter-county manager I suppose as something that’s a full-time job. At some stage I will get involved at the upper tier of inter-county teams.

Brendan Cummins had a long and distinguished career in goal for Tipperary.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“I kinda sent word back (to Tipperary) that I was under pressure time-wise. I don’t believe in taking people around the merry-go-round of interviews, unless you are 100 per cent committed to doing it.

“I’d love to be able to do it – don’t get me wrong – but at this stage, I’ve a 10-year-old and a five-year-old. Being gone every night of the week just wasn’t going to fit.

“Work, obviously as well (was a factor). Aviva I’d say wouldn’t have had a major hassle with me doing the job. But I just didn’t want to put them in that situation. Family first, work second would have been the reasons for not going.

“Definitely at some stage down the road it’s something I want to do alright.”

Sheedy is still in the process of assembling his backroom team in Tipperary with an announcement expected shortly. Yet it is the main job on an inter-county sideline that Cummins is targeting.

Liam Sheedy last managed the Tipperary senior hurlers in 2010.

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“If I ever I go in to do it, I’d like to do it as taking over. All of the decisions falling on my head, to be honest with you. There is a certain edge to that.

“I’ve been a selector in Laois, been involved in Kerry and all that. But if I’m taking on a role like that, I’d want to be one of the key decision makers in there.”

A two-time All-Ireland senior winner as a player, Cummins does expect to lend a hand again to the Kerry hurlers in 2019 after being involved in coaching them this season.

“I’ve made no real decision on Kerry next year but I would expect I’ll probably go down in some role or capacity. I’ve a real grá for Kerry and the lads down there. Fintan O’Connor is doing a great job, the lads are responding really well.

“The first year was a little bit tricky but last year finished on the same points as Westmeath and just beaten out on scoring difference. Shane Conway gets Young Hurler of the Year from the U21B, so all those kind of things are feeding into a good positive story in Kerry. It’s good to be a part of it. I find it hard to say no.”

Kerry U21 hurler Shane Conway.

Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

Cummins has expressed his sympathy for Liam Cahill and William Maher, underage winning boss with Tipperary over the last few years, in not managing to land the senior post this time.

But he feels there is a high level of anticipation at the return of Sheedy to the hotseat.

“You’d have to have some sympathy for Liam Cahill and Willie Maher, the way the process was. [They were] engaged completely in it. Then when a character like Liam comes along, all eyes turn to him. It’s exciting times.

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“I think the Tipperary players now, the length and breadth of this county are looking forward to getting in under him and helping him get us back to where we feel we should be, and that’s in the latter end of the summer and competing in Croke Park.

“Babs came back and it didn’t quite work out the way everyone had planned. But at the same time, Liam is a different kind of an animal, and he’s gotten the eight years of a break.

“Obviously work circumstances have changed for him and he’s also a proud Tipperary man. I was sitting above in the box with him on the day of the All-Ireland final. You could see, as Tipp people we were kind of looking at each other, hurting that we’re not there and had been gone for so long.”

Brendan Cummins and Liam Sheedy celebrating Tipperary’s 2010 All-Ireland final victory.

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Cummins does not feel it is straightforward to suggest that Tipperary’s winning ways would certainly have continued if Sheedy had stayed on after 2010 and believes the onus is on the county’s players to step up next season.

“That’d be a bit disrespectful to Declan Ryan, Tommy Dunne and all who came in. They did good jobs with us. Then again you look at the Nicky time in 2001, Nicky stayed on until 2002 and it just petered out for us as well and he gave the same drive and energy.

“Liam is going to come in and going to put all the systems and process in place but the responsibility always falls on the player to perform. He’ll create the environment for you to do that. I think the bit of rebuilding work has to be done, players have to be bedded in, those (All-Ireland winning) U21s and all that, so it is going to take a bit of time. His ambition will be a one-year plan like he’d always have said to us, but probably I might say it’ll take two.

“You’re going to have players that are going to have to have a bit of patience and have a real team ethos. Getting that into your DNA that the jersey is more important and that’s Liam’s skill. If it’s not, you just get the door and that’s the end of it. You’re right the older lads will have to step up but the younger guys, everyone (in it) together kind of thing. That’s what I think the kind of culture Liam will try to bring to the group.

“I just still think all my years of experience, no matter what way we dress it up, it comes down to the players and that’s what it’s going to be for Tipperary in 2019 now.

“What different thinking they’re going to bring to it, the ambition that they have, the way they look after themselves on and off the field. All those things feed into being a good player and that’ll determine whether we’re going to win or not next year.”

Cummins was speaking in Borris-Ileigh yesterday at the launch of the Amanda Stapleton Benefit Match on Saturday 3 November, where the All-Ireland winning goalkeeper will be part of a Tipperary legends team facing a Kilkenny legends side in aid of the sister of Cummins former Tipperary team-mate Paddy Stapleton.

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Tipperary and Kilkenny hurling greats gathered in Borris-Ileigh yesterday at the launch of a benefit match on 3 November for Amanda Stapleton, a 31-year-old teacher from the village, who was recently diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.

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Amanda Stapleton is a 31-year-old teacher from the Tipperary village, who is now living in London, and was recently diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.

It’s the type of occasion that he is delighted to be involved with.

“It’s tough going. It’s a game of roulette that’s probably life, and the ball lands on someone in your family. It’s nice to be involved and to be able to do something.

“The support in GAA and all sports in general is going to be epitomised with what’s going to be happening up here.

“I’m certainly looking forward to getting a game against these Kilkenny boys again! There is a huge appetite for things like this amongst the players, there’s no doubt about it. We take it as seriously as we can.

“But I think on a bigger scale it’s something we could look into and it would help fundraise things along the line as well.”


Tickets for the Amanda Stapleton Benefit Match between Kilkenny and Tipperary on Saturday 3 November are available to purchase here.

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