The seniors may be out of the All-Ireland race, but the Kilkenny intermediate hurlers made sure the county has another national crown to chase as they comfortably beat Wexford to lift the Leinster title.
The Cats were in cruise control from the off, grabbing score after score to earn their 17th provincial title and set up an All-Ireland final against Cork.
Darragh Brennan and Edmond Delaney had early points for Kilkenny against one reply from a free by Jack Hobbs, but the favourites then took control.
Wexford should have bagged a goal in the 11th minute, however. Colm Farrell cut the home defence asunder on the left, but his handpass across goal was missed at the back post by Shane Murphy with the net wide open in front of him. The score was 0-3 to 0-1 at the time.
By the time a Wexford goal arrived, direct from a sideline cut by Niall Murphy in the 20th minute, they had conceded six points and were sinking. By half-time Kilkenny were 0-15 to 1-1 ahead and looking good.
The match was well decided before Paul Holden found the net for Kilkenny in the 51st minute to make it 1-23 to 1-7.
Scorers for Kilkenny:
R Donnelly (0-9, three frees, one 65); P Holden (1-5); D Brennan (0-5); S Carey (0-2); C Fleming, JP Treacy, E Delaney, M Power, J Power (0-1 each).
J Hobbs (0-5, frees); N Murphy (1-0); J Doyle (0-2); L French (0-1).
D Aylward; N Doherty, G Teehan, D Prendergast; B Whelan, C Fleming, J Cahill; JP Treacy, V Costello; P Holden, D Brennan, E Delaney; S Carey, M Power, R Donnelly.
M Keoghan for Costello h/t; L Hickey for E Delaney (43 mins); N Walsh for R Donnelly (50); E Egan for J Cahill (50); J Power for JP Treacy (52).
L Murphy; G Foley, S O’Gorman, M O’Brien; D Bolger, N Breen, D Doyle; L French, C Farrell; C Moore, S Kenny, T French; N Murphy, S Murphy, J Hobbs.
S Kelly for D Doyle (h/t); B O’Gorman for S Murphy (h/t); J Doyle for T French (h/t); C Bennett for D Bolger (40); R Barron for C Farrell (47).
J O’Brien (Laois).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved