The game’s pivotal score came on 35 minutes when Kieran’s midfielder Richie Leahy cut through the Peter’s defence to goal and give his side a four point lead (1-8 to 1-4) at Netwatch Cullen Park, Carlow, on Saturday in a game played in difficult windy conditions.
St Peter’s were strong and determined in the opening half, making it a competitive decider. They fed off very limited forward possession but stayed in contention through the fact Kieran’s, who fielded five of the Kilkenny All-Ireland minor winning team of 2014, drove 11 first half wides.
After the sides turned over with Kieran’s leading 0-5 to 0-4, Peter’s struck for a 32nd minute goal when Billy Dunne’s free was finished to the net by Jack Pettitt to put his side 1-4 to 0-6 ahead.
Kieran’s responded with an equalising point from a Joe Connolly free before Tadgh O’Dwyer put the Kilkenny side back in front.
Then came Leahy’s goal and from there Kieran’s drove on. The half was highlighted by a wonderful point from a sideline cut by midfielder Jason Byrne.
Kieran’s mentor Liam Smith commented: “The conditions were difficult, the wind played a big part. In the second half we upped our workrate, having given away a simple goal.”
“St Peter’s worked very hard – they are a good side” he commented but added: “It would be hard to maintain that (intensity) for the 65 minutes.”
Seán Foley, St Peter’s mentor, said: “Kieran’s got a grip in the middle of the field and they took it from there. They (Peter’s) had “managed them” in the first half “but they came strong in the second.”
This was Kieran’s 53rd title but there will be concern at 16 wides, even allowing for the conditions.
Meanwhile Peter’s quest continues for a first Leinster senior title since 1982.
Scorers for St Kieran’s: B Ryan, J Connolly (all frees) 0-3 each, R Leahy 1-0, S Morrissey, L Blanchfield 0-2 each, R Lahart (both frees) 0-2 each, J Byrne (line cut), T O’Dwyer, 0-1 each.
Scorers for St Peter’s: J Pettitt 1-1, M Joyce (0-1 free), B Dunne (both frees) 0-2 each, R O’Connor 0-1.
ST KIERAN’S: A Mullen; M Cody, T Walsh, J Barron; J Keoghan, J Cleere, E Walsh; J Byrne, R Leahy; L Blanchfield, S Morrissey, J Connolly; R Lahart, B Ryan, T O’Dwyer.
Subs: N Walsh for Lahart (27); E Egan for E Walsh (56); D O’Connor for Connolly (58); M Keoghan for Cody (59); E Kearney for Byrne (59).
ST PETER’S: O Foley; D Clarke, D Byrne, J Donohoe; C Murphy, A Maddock, G Malone; C Hearne, J Firman; J Pettitt, J O’Connor, R White; J L Meyler, M Joyce, B Dunne.
Subs: R O’Connor for Meyler (41); O Saudners for Dunne (43).
Referee: P Murphy (Carlow).