A new generation of talented Kilkenny forwards helped the Cats to their first Allianz Hurling League Division 1A win of the season on Sunday.
With Richie Power recently announcing his retirement and Richie Hogan unavailable due to a back injury there were chances there for newcomers to make a mark.
Both Kevin Kelly and James Maher grabbed those opportunities and delivered assured displays against Tipperary at Nowlan Park.
Kelly got the two late goals which ensured the Cats beat their old rivals 2-17 to 0-18, while Maher was named man of the match following his 0-4 haul from play.
"Kevin is well able to finish, has been going well in training and for Carlow IT,” noted Hurler of the Year TJ Reid about his new team mate.
“Brian always says if you're playing well in training you will get a chance. Another star was James Maher who scored four points on his debut.
“Those players are looking to compete for places and the lads on the bench are looking to get in. You have to have competition in any team."
Brian Cody was pleased with the way the youngsters performed and he was particularly impressed with Kelly’s second goal.
He bundled home his first, nearly missing the chance, but in injury time he blasted a great shot past in-form Tipp keeper Darren Gleeson.
“It was the easy option to take, at two points up, to tap it over the bar and a lot of forwards would have taken it,” said Cody, speaking to RTÉ Sport.
“He showed great maturity and decisiveness – he looked up, saw the opportunity, went for it and took it very, very well.”
The Cats now join Tipperary on two points in the Division 1A table with one win from two outings.
According to Cody it was vital to win this game to help ensure they don’t end up in a relegation battle like they did last year.
“We lost the previous Sunday and had we lost to Tipp we would have been heading into the third round of the League with no points and that would have left us in a difficult position.
“We wanted to get out and try to be very, very competitive and I think we were very competitive.”
New Tipp manager Michael Ryan (above), who saw his team beat Dublin easily in their first League outing, was disappointed that the concession of two late goals cost them a rare win over Kilkenny.
They now face defending League champions and Division 1A leaders Waterford at home in Semple Stadium in their next game.
That’s on Sunday, 6 March and there’s a chance that the Premier County will have All Star Seamus Callanan fit and available for selection again.
“He’s making a good bit of progress,” explained Ryan.” We just need to get a bit more game-time in to him before we can consider Seamus so it just depends on the progress he makes before then.”