'Nonsense' gossip didn't help: Cahill
The "nonsense" rumours that followed the Tipperary hurlers in the wake of their early Munster exit added to the difficulty of trying to defend Liam MacCarthy, Michael Cahill has admitted.
"It was a tough year from a county point of view, and from a panel point of view. That stuff doesn't help when you are trying to prepare for your season and you have this kind of nonsense going on in the background and people driving on these rumours," the defender reflected.
"That is never going to stand to any team. As much as you put it to the back of your head, some of it could creep in, like. It doesn't help that the whole thing gets drummed up then."
Tipperary were beset by similar rumblings during their previous unsuccessful title defence, having won the All-Ireland in 2010.
"Whatever it is about Tipperary, rumours seem to fly and this and that goes on," Cahill conceded. "Sure all we can do is focus on our own set-up and that's something we try to do. Sure that's all we can do for the coming year, try and keep it low-key as possible."
Despite all of this background noise, Michael Ryan's troops bounced back from their league final mauling (by Galway) and Munster quarter-final ambush (by Cork) to reach the last-four.
And there, but for Joe Canning's wondrous winning point in injury-time, Tipp's first two-in-a-row since 1965 might yet have materialised.
"The story of our lives over the last few years with Tipperary. So close but yet so far," Cahill lamented.
"Losing to Galway by a point was really tough to take. We have to realise Galway were on the opposite side of that the year before. We just have to take that on the chin and come back.
"It's always hard to win back-to-back; I suppose you are always trying to emulate what Kilkenny are doing. Trying to set your own legacy.
"The last time Tipp won back-to-back, it's years ago at this stage ... winning the first one is hard but winning a second one is even harder because you are up there to be knocked."