The losers opened full of promise, and took the game to the opposition when playing against the wind. Twice they led in the early stages, with scores from the hugely impressive Mark Kavanagh and Aaron Dunphy.
However, Kilkenny hit back smartly to take control of the game. During a strong seven-minute spell, they bagged 1-3 to get into a sure rhythm.
Points were picked off by John Donnelly, Andrew Gaffney and Tadgh O’Dwyer before Gaffney applied a great finish for the first goal of the game in the 11th minute.
Suddenly Kilkenny were 1-4 to 0-2 in front, and flying.
Laois lost centre-back Denis Cahill to concussion and Kilkenny took advantage, opening up a 1-11 to 0-5 lead by half-time.
The game was over when Kilkenny grabbed a second goal in the 34th minute. Daniel O’Connor created the opening for John Donnelly’s powerful 20m drive.
Laois were virtually a one-man show in attack in the second half, with Kavanagh shooting all but one of their scores.
A. Gaffney (1-6, 3 frees, 2 ‘65’); J. Donnelly (1-2); J. Cuddihy, N. Walsh (0-2 each); R. Leahy (0-2, 1 free); M.Cody, D. Joyce, D. O’Connor, T. O’Dwyer (0-1 each).
M. Kavanagh (0-8, 5 frees, 5 ‘65’); A. Dunphy, A. Bergin, S. Phelan (0-1 each).
S. Murphy, M. Cody, T. Walsh, C. McGrath, D. Mullen, D. Joyce, C. Doheny, R. Leahy, J. Connolly, A. Gaffney, J. Donnelly, D. O’Connor, T. O’Dwyer, J. Cuddihy, N. Walsh.
J. Bergin for O’Connor (inj) 39th min; E.Delaney for D. Mullen 44th min; C. Hennessy for Donnelly 52nd min; R. Butler for Gaffney 57th min; R. Coffey for Cuddihy 57th min.
S. Kelly, J. Geaney, C. Phelan, D. Connolly, L. O’Connell, D. Cahill, L. Cleere, S. Downey, S. Dunphy, S. Phelan, M. Phelan, A. Bergin, M. Kavanagh, R. Phelan, A. Dunphy.
E. Killeen for D. Cahill (inj) 25th min; D. Conroy for M. Phelan 43rd min; L. Delaney for S. Downey 49th min; A. Mortimer for A. Dunphy 53rd min; R. McEvoy for R. Phelan 54th min.
A. Devine (Westmeath).