Despite failing to topple Kilkenny in their last three All-Ireland final appearances, Tipperary full-back James Barry wouldn’t change Sunday’s opposition for any other side.

Two years ago it took a replay for the Cats to claim the Liam MacCarthy cup, while back in 2011 Brian Cody’s men stopped Tipp from winning back-to-back titles.

"[There’s] no better people to be playing than Kilkenny,” Barry told RTÉ Sport ahead of the Croke Park clash (3.30pm, live on RTÉ One).

“We were unlucky enough in 2014 that they came out on the [right] side of it. Hopefully in 2016 we’ll be able to get the upper hand on them.”

The Premier County come into the encounter as Munster champions and off the back of a narrow semi-final win over Galway.

The Leinster kingpins, however, will also be well primed having come through two tough semi-finals against Waterford.

"They have lads that will come out of nowhere to punish you where it hurts"

And while Cody will have to plan without midfielder Michael Fennelly, who was injured in the replay victory over the Déise, Barry, who is due to mark sharpshooter Colin Fennelly, is conscious that just keeping Kilkenny’s stars quiet is only 'job half done'.

“I was marking Colin in the 2014 final,” said the Upperchurch-Drombane man, “he’s one of the best full-forwards in the country, he has power and pace so he’ll be tough to handle.

“Even if you get on top of Kilkenny’s main players, they have young lads coming though all the time.

“You saw young [Liam] Blanchfield, corner-forward the last day, scoring [three] points for them so they’re tough 'cos even if you get on top of their good players they have lads that will come out of nowhere to punish you where it hurts.”

The 26-year-old added: “Michael always does a lot of damage against us. He always seems to control the middle so well.

"As I say they have Lester Ryan coming in there. Lester is as experienced, a previous captain, so they’ll continue on with the same ruthlessness that they always have.”