Kilkenny got their championship campaign off to the perfect start on Saturday afternoon with a 0-16 to 0-22 victory away to Clare.
The defending champions put in a solid performance as they marched to victory in Sixmilebridge and Kilkenny manager Brian Dowling revealed that his side claimed victory on the back of late Covid-19 issues in the camp.
Speaking after the game, Dowling said: “We came down to get the two points on the board and we did that. The attitude was fantastic considering we had to make changes due to Covid related issues.
“Emma Kavanagh, Steffi Fitzgerald and Laura Murphy weren’t due to start but the three of them came in and played really well.”
The O’Loughlin Gaels man also emphasised the importance of getting off to a winning start in their group.
“We have a lot of work to do but the win today really sets a great foundation for us. If we had lost today, it would have put us in a bad place but we’re in a good position now and we got to Westmeath on the back of a good win,” said Dowling.
The 2020 All-Ireland winning manager stressed how difficult it was to play in abnormal heat and celebrated his players’ effort under the circumstances.
He said: “The conditions were tough today. It drains your energy and we tried to get fresh legs on.
“I think this game will stand to us because we got a big test in really warm weather, and we can use these 60 minutes to our advantage for next week against Westmeath.”