Kilkenny hurling manager Brian Cody admits that he and his panel are still coming to terms with the new round-robin format in the Leinster Championship after they continued their winning start to the campaign.
The Cats were not at their ruthless best as they beat Offaly 2-19 to 1-13 at Nowlan Park.
A late goal from Liam Blanchfield along with a flurry of points in the closing stages for Kilkenny gave the scoreline a slightly lopsided look as Offaly battled gamely.
That victory was Kilkenny’s second win in two weeks after an opening-day triumph against Dublin and Cody revealed that the schedule of playing a game a week is taking its toll on his side.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport, he said: "This is a round-robin thing where the result is everything. We have two matches played and two wins and obviously we’re playing the All Ireland champions next weekend so that will be a huge battle.
"Offaly really came at us strong in the second half and got very close but we pulled away at the end a small bit."
The strength of the Kilkenny panel and of those of other teams will be tested by the new format, but Cody is confident he has the players to ‘dig out results’.
"It’s a big challenge, there’s no doubt about that. From last week we lost three players straight away, one to sickness and two to injury and we’ll be hoping we don’t lose too many after today.
"It’s the same for all counties and I said at the time it’s going to be a big test for panels and that’s the reality of it.
"We did hurl well in patches, we played very well in patches but again it’s about digging out results and it’s week to week and it’s demanding.
"That’s the situation we find ourselves in, it’s the same as everybody else."