Dubs opener is 'huge' for Cats - Murphy
Kilkenny goalkeeper Eoin Murphy believes that sorting out the central positions in the team is one of the reasons for their upturn in form during the league.
The Cats lost their first two league games only to recover to win the Division 1 title with the likes of full-back Padraig Walsh, centre-back Cillian Buckley, centre-forward TJ Reid and full-forward Walter Walsh finding form.
Murphy believes that consistency in the spine of the team was missing over the last couple of seasons and that it has helped Kilkenny's new faces settle at inter-county level.
"It was definitely said we were in transition and it was in the county as well," he reflected.
"When you have genuine hurling people going to underage games, they know the quality that is there.
"You know the guys who have been hurling well. The guys who have been coming from Kieran's the last five or six years. The general public just thought there was a couple of years needed here to regain a bit of a panel, that bite back.
"Once you have a settled team, a settled spine - you saw that with Galway last year; that they had it set.
They have settled backs, Daithí Burke at full-back, Gearóid McInerney at centre-back, it has settled the whole six backs.
"It's similar enough with Tipp. We felt that we didn't have that the last year or two."
Kilkenny open their Leinster championship with a trip to Parnell Park to face Dublin with Murphy describing the importance of securing a win in your first game as "huge".
"Going to Parnell Park is an extremely difficult place. It's an odd sort of a place because there's not much between the sideline and the stand. It feels really close.
"It mightn't be any smaller than any other pitch but when the crowd is there and they get going it feels like they're on your back.
"The first game is huge. You don't want to be putting yourself under pressure there, same as the league."