Between them they accounted for 3-6 as the defending All-Ireland champions had little difficulty in disposing of the Thurles CBS challenge.
Notwithstanding the Thurles display, this is a richly talented Kieran’s side and the final against St Flannans on the May Bank Holiday Monday, possibly at the same venue, should not be missed.
From the start, St Kieran’s oozed class. The defence gave nothing away with Shane Campion and Neal Prendergast particularly impressive. Padraig Hogan and TJ Reid won the midfield exchanges, while in attack Richie Hogan, Maurice Nolan and Martin Walsh gave the Thurles defence a torrid time.
Losing captain David Patterson and Thomas Hassett through injury didn’t help the Thurles cause, but even at full strength, they were never going to pose too many problems for the reigning champions who will be favourites to make it a hat-trick of wins in three weeks time.
Thurles opted to play with the strong wind in the opening half but after the sides were level for the first and only time at a point apiece, Kieran’s enjoyed a slice of good fortune when Padraig Hogan’s well-struck side line ball went all the way to the net off the hands of goalkeeper Scott Gray.
That score triggered a devastating scoring burst by the Kilkenny side. With Richie Hogan showing marvellous skill and pace, they hit Thurles with a second goal in the 10th minute, from Hogan, and as the Tipperary school struggled to contain their rampant opponents, Hogan set up Martin Walsh for a third major to put his side 3-3 to 0-4 in front after 20 minutes.
While Thurles did create chances, their forwards were nowhere as lethal as Kieran’s, though they did finally breach the Kilkenny rearguard for a badly needed goal in the 23rd minute, scored by Ciaran Cloghessy.
However they were going to need a couple more if they were have any chance, as Kieran’s turned over with the wind to their backs, leading 3-4 to 1-5.
Two Brian Moran points in quick succession suggested a Thurles comeback, but the razor sharp Kieran’s attack nipped it in the bud, scoring 1-5 without reply, the goal coming from a penalty scored by Patrick Hogan
: St Kierans: P. Hogan 2-2; R. Hogan 1-4 (0-1 free); TJ Reid 1-3; Martin Walsh 1-1; M. Nolan 0-3 (0-2 frees); JJ Farrell 0-1. Thurles: C. Cloghessy 2-0; B. Moran 0-3 (0-2 frees); T. Hammersly, P. Bourke (0-1 free) 0-2 each; M. Cahill (free), T. Hassett 0-1 each;
: N. Cleere; E. O’Shea, S. Campion, J. Dowling; M. Culleton, N. Prendergast, J. Dermody; P. Hogan, TJ Reid; Mark Walsh, JJ Farrell, Martin Walsh; R. Hogan, M. Nolan, S. Brennan.
: P. Kennedy for Farrell; J. Lawlor for Culleton.
: S. Gray; D. Patterson, P. Maher, M. Gleeson; K. Moran, E. Ryan, M. Cahill; J. Coughlan, P. Kelly; J. Maher, T. Hassett, P. Bourke; C. Cloghessy, B. Moran, T. Hammersly.
: T. Ryan for Patterson; D. Kirby for J. Maher; S. Ryan for Hassett.
: J. Sexton (Limerick).