Kilkenny welcome Tipperary to Nowland Park at 2.30pm on Sunday in a repeat of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 All-Ireland finals.
Both sides will be eager to have a good start to their league campaign, which now only lasts for five matches. Neither county have held the league title since 2009, but Tipperary have the most successes in the competition with 20, while Kilkenny are joint second with 14.
The teams have had a number of thrilling matches in recent years. Kilkenny won the All-Ireland finals in 2009 and 2011 by five and four points respectively, while Tipperary dramatically ended Kilkenny’s hopes of a five-in-a-row in 2010 when they won 4-17 to 1-18.
In 2009 it took extra time to separate the teams in the league final, with Kilkenny securing the victory. Tipperary did the league and championship double over Kilkenny in 2010, while the Cats won both encounters between the sides last year.
Kilkenny welcome back 12 of the team that beat Tipperary in the All-Ireland final, while the Munster side make eight changes to their line-up that started that day.
The Cats will be missing three key players, however. Henry Shefflin and Richie Hogan are injured, while Eddie Brennan has retired. Their places will be taken by Paddy Hogan, TJ Reid and Matthew Ruth.
Many of Tipperary’s changes have been enforced. Tipperary will be missing the retired Lar Corbett, goalkeeper Brendan Cummins, former captain Eoin Kelly and Shane McGrath, while Seamus Callanan and Patrick Maher are out with long-term injuries. Cornerback Donagh Maher and wing forward Adrian Ryan make their league debuts for Tipperary.
Kilkenny: D Herity; J Tyrrell, JJ Delaney, N Hickey; T Walsh, B Hogan, P Murphy; P Hogan, M Fennelly; TJ Reid, M Rice, E Larkin; C Fennelly, R Power, M Ruth
Tipperary: 1. Darren Gleeson (Portroe), 2. Donagh Maher (Burgess), 3. Paul Curran (Mullinahone) Captain, 4. Michael Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields), 5. Shane Maher (Burgess), 6. Conor O’Mahony (Newport), 7. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields), 8. Brendan Maher (Borris–Ileigh), 9. David Young (Toomevara), 10. Gearóid Ryan (Templederry Kenyons), 11. Noel McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney), 12. Adrian Ryan (Templederry Kenyons), 13. Pa Bourke (Thurles Sarsfields), 14. Brian O’Meara (Kilruane MacDonaghs), 15. John O’Brien (Toomevara)