Anthony Cunningham admits that the Dublin hurlers are in a rebuilding phase but insists they are still targeting the Leinster title - or at the very least a notable win.

The Dubs last lifted the Bob O'Keeffe Cup in 2013 but haven't reached the final since 2014.

Under new manager Pat Gilroy, they failed to challenge for promotion from Division 1B of the Allianz Hurling League, and in the eyes of many observers will be fighting it out with Offaly to avoid relegation this summer.

"We are always going out to win the Leinster Championship," selector Cunningham told RTÉ Sport.

"We are massively looking forward to the challenges, we think we have the players that can definitely compete with the best of them. 

"We have put in huge preparations under Pat and we are really looking forward to it.

"It is going to take time. You are building a team and you can see the progress."

Dublin begin their Championship campaign against Kilkenny at Parnell Park on Sunday, which Cunningham hopes will help them to pull off what would be a shock victory.

"You are always going to have a small bit of an advantage playing at home," he said.

"We will be looking for a major surprise over the summer, that is what we want - a big scalp.

 "We will be gunning for Kilkenny, but they are the League champions and it doesn't get any tougher."

Anthony Cunningham (L) and Pat Gilroy

After leading his native Galway to two All-Ireland finals (2012 and 2014)  in four seasons before being ousted in a player revolt, Cunningham is enjoying his role of supporting act to former Dublin football boss Gilroy.

"Pat is a really organised guy, he has brought huge experience to the set-up," said Cunningham. "I will always learn off Pat. 

"He has also brought in Mickey Whelan, Paddy O'Donoghue, Sean Brady, guys he had worked with through the football years as well. It is a very well oiled machine.

"He has a great way with his system of coaching. The way he would go is to give a lot of the responsibility to the players to figure out work, to talk about moves and to talk about tactics to develop their own game.

"If a player doesn't have it or know where he has to improve it is very hard to get that point across. It starts with number one, the player has to know what to improve on.

"For me I am delighted to get to do a bit more coaching because you are on the field with the players. It is really enjoyable."

The St Thomas' man sees great potential in the future given the work that has gone into developing hurling in the capital.

"The young players coming through in Dublin are very good," he said. "They have been through a lot of coaching. There are very good coaches and very good clubs, a lot of people have put a lot of good work into Dublin.

"It is emerging, patience is also what people have to have because these lads will develop into fine players."

Follow Offaly v Galway this Saturday via our live blog on RTÉ.ie and the News Now App or listen to exclusive national radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1. Highlights on the Sunday Game on RTÉ2, 9.30pm.

Follow Dublin v Kilkenny this Sunday via our live blog on RTÉ.ie and the News Now App from 1.30pm, watch live and exclusive TV coverage on RTÉ2 or listen to exclusive radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1.