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Two-time All-Ireland winner Brendan Cummins says Tipperary struggled with the burden of defending their Liam MacCarthy crown this summer.
Cummins, who won the All-Ireland with Tipperary in 2001 and 2010, says Michael Ryan's side looked like they were weighed down expectation and not enjoying their bid to claim the Premier County's first back-to-back All-Ireland titles since 1965.
"The flair that we had and the whole playing with abandon that was there from the year before was gone," the 42-year-old told the Tipperary Star.
"It became very: 'I'm playing for Tipp, this is what I should be doing,' rather than going out with a freedom.
"Looking at the players, especially the seasoned guys – it looked like they were going to work.
"That's not any fault of Mick Ryan, that's just external pressure pushing down and when you lose a match in Tipp it's like the end of the world: 'This is it, we're all failures and that’s the end of it.'
"That external pressure just seeped in a bit and I think the players, by their natural goals, set higher expectations than anybody else would of them.
"If you were a player you'd be saying: "I should be way better,' even though the supporters might say you are going well."
Tipperary were beaten by Galway in the National League final and by Cork in the Munster Championship, but found their form again later in the season when scoring six goals against Dublin in the qualifiers, beating Clare and then running Galway so close in the All-Ireland semi-finals.
"After all that being said, we were only a point away from the All-Ireland champions," Cummins, who will play for Ballybacon-Grange against Waterford club Ardmore in Sunday's AIB Munster club junior hurling final, continued.
"Galway are worthy champions and they move on and we'll see how they deal with the pressure of it next year.
"But Tipp need a few more players and I'm sure Mick will find them, they are there."
Image: Inpho/Tommy Dickson
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