Kilkenny are without a number of first team regulars for tonight's Allianz NHL Division 1 opener against Tipperary at Semple Stadium (throw-in 7.30pm).
The Cats' Ballyhale Shamrocks players, including the likes of Henry Shefflin, James 'Cha' Fitzpatrick and TJ Reid, are absent as they continue their preparations for next month's All-Ireland Club SHC final.
Michael Kavanagh, who featured in the St Lachtain's All-Ireland-winning Intermediate team last weekend, is also out, while Eddie Brennan is playing catch-up fitness wise having just returned from honeymoon.
Derek Lyng and Eoin Larkin are injured while Noel Hickey has returned to training but will not feature and John Tennyson is nursing a slight knock.
Tipperary hammered Kilkenny by 5-17 to 1-12 in a Division 1 clash last March but it was altogether different when the sides met again in the final in early May. In a cracking contest which went to extra-time, Kilkenny won their fifth league title of the decade on a 2-26 to 4-17 scoreline.
Four months later Kilkenny and Tipperary clashed again in a classic All-Ireland final contest which Brian Cody's men won by 2-22 to 0-23.
KILKENNY (NHL v Tipperary) - PJ Ryan; C Hickey, B Hogan, J Dalton; T Walsh, J Tyrell, JJ Delaney; W Dwyer, PJ Delaney; R Hogan, M Rice, A Fogarty; M Grace, M Comerford, R Power.
Substitutes: D Herity, R O'Neill, J Ryall, J Tennyson, D Fogarty, S Cummins, E McGrath, P Hogan, J Mulhall.