A Conor Martin penalty in the second minute had given Kilkenny the dream start, and they could have had more goals but for some inspired goalkeeping from Laois stopper Enda Rowland.
After a nervy start, the hosts finally settled, with PJ Scully and Cha Dwyer doing all the scoring as Laois trailed 1-9 to 0-7 at the break. Kilkenny pushed that lead out to seven with just over five minutes gone in the second-half, but Laois mounted a stirring comeback.
Thanks to the accuracy of Scully, they whittled the lead down to just one point with thirteen minutes to go.
They couldn’t get any closer though and another Martin goal six minutes from time settled the tie in the Cats’ favour.
Scorers for Kilkenny: C Martin 2-6 (1-0 pen, 0-3f, 0-1 65), E Bergin 0-3, R Moran, D Cody, D Bourke 0-2, M Donnelly, S Donnelly 0-1 each.
Scorers for Laois: PJ Scully 0-9 (0-7f), C Dwyer 0-4 (0-1f), A Corby, B Conroy 0-1 each
KILKENNY: D Holohan; C Doyle, J McDowell, R Fitzpatrick; C Bolger, E Morrissey, J Maher; M Donnelly, K Walsh; C Martin, R Moran, D Cody; K Kenny, E Bergin, S Donnelly.
Subs: N Brophy for Moran (43), D Bourke for S Donnelly (43), K Ryan for Walsh (49), J McGrath for Cody (59)
LAOIS: E Rowland; D Palmer, C McEvoy, C Dunne; A McGowan, P Bergin, G Dunne; C Stapleton, C Taylor; A Corby, C Dwyer, B Conroy; A Moore, D Quinlan, PJ Scully.
Subs: J Lennon for Quinlan (40), D Lynch for Bergin (57)
Referee: J Keenan (Wicklow).