The Cork champions raced 0-8 to 0-0 clear inside 13 minutes, as Ballyduff appeared stuck in first gear.
However, the Kerry champions, who were playing against a stiff wind, began to claw their way back into the game.
In the 14th minute, Jack Goulding floated in a high ball to Aidan Boyle, who fed brother Pádraig for the game’s first goal. Points from Pádraig and Mikey Boyle followed and Ballyduff looked to be growing in confidence with each passing minute.
Three Liam O’Keeffe points and efforts from Alan O’Keeffe, along with Aidan and Ian Walsh, saw Kanturk lead 0-12 to 1-3 at the interval with the visitors also leading the wide count 9-7.
The second half turned into an epic contest, with Mikey Boyle and Jack O’Sullivan disrupting Kanturk in the middle, while Padraig O’Grady, Eoin Ross and Paud Costello were immense for the home outfit.
Scores from the Goulding brothers David and Jack hauled Ballyduff to within four points entering the final 10 minutes.
The Walsh brothers, John Browne and Alan Sheehy were outstanding for Kanturk as Ballyduff came in waves looking for the equaliser, which came in the 58th minute when Paul O’Carroll scooped the ball past Anthony Nash to make it 0-18 to 2-12 with the game entering injury time.
The sides traded wides before Kanturk broke at pace and caught Ballyduff on the counter-attack. Despite the best efforts of PJ O’Gorman, Ian Walsh found the Ballyduff net and points from Walsh and Lorcan O’Neill sealed victory for Kanturk.
Kanturk manager Donagh Duane didn’t hide his delight: “I am so relieved to have got over the line. We knew this Ballyduff team would take us all the way down to the wire, because they have such a passion about their hurling in North Kerry. They never gave up. A big strong physical team with a good wind behind them in the second half, they were always going to keep battling. They got the goal to level the contest, but in fairness we kept calm. We knew there was time and an opportunity there. Luckily we got the goal and we tagged two points on to settle us down.”
He added: “I am proud of the lads, because their character all year has been incredible and, for such a young team, they never panic, but huge credit to Ballyduff and those Boyle boys, they are some hurlers. We are glad to be leaving Tralee with the win.”
I Walsh (1-4), L O’Keeffe (0-5, 3 frees) L O’Neill and A O’Keeffe (0-3 each), A Walsh (0-2), L McLoughlin (0-2, 1free, 1 ’65), J Fitzpatrick (0-1)
Boyle (1-5, 5 frees), P O’Carroll ( 1-0), D Goulding and M Boyle ( 0-2 each), A O’Carroll, A Boyle and J Goulding ( 0-1 each)
P J O’Gorman; A O’Connor, P O’Grady, C Kearney; D Goulding, P Costello, E Ross; D O’Carroll, A O’Carroll; L Boyle , A Boyle, J O’Sullivan; P Boyle, M Boyle, J Goulding.
P Carroll for A O’Connor (44), G O’Brien for L Boyle (50).
A Nash: P Walsh, J McLoughlin, A Sheehy ; J Browne, D Browne, M Healy; L McLoughlin, R Walsh; I Walsh, L O’Neill, A Walsh; D Kennelly, A O’Keeffe, L O’Keeffe.
J Fitzpatrick for M Healy (49).
R McGann (Clare)