The silky midfielder pulled the strings throughout for the Tipperary side with goalkeeper Christine Coffey, while centre-half Niamh O’Mahony protected their slender lead during the second period.
Thurles created four clear-cut chances before they broke the deadlock. Kilkenny keeper Cliodhna Kenny produced two fine saves from Shonagh Cleary and Casey Hennessy. At the other end, Coffey was alert to block Ciara Phelan’s effort. Ciara Delaney spurned Kilkenny’s bestopening on 35 minutes when she found space inside the area but couldn’t hit the target.
A minute before the break, McKevitt pounced. The number seven beat the offside trap to race onto Hazel McAuliffe’s through ball and finished delicately to the far corner of the net.
Thurles switched to a 4-5-1 formation in the second-half with Cleary operating as a lone striker. McKevitt saw her dipping 25-yard free kick crash back off the crossbar with 12 minutes remaining. The Sky Blues from Kilkenny pushed forward in search of a late equaliser. Jenny O’Keeffe’s close range header stung the gloves of Coffey. In the third added minute, Phelan hooked her shot over the bar from a corner kick in what proved to be Kilkenny’s last opportunity.
C Coffey, N Kennedy, N O’Mahony, K Ryan, M Burke, S Cleary, C Hennessy, H McAuliffe, S McKevitt, C O’Connor, R Moore.
A Gavin, E Harnett, S Foley, S Teer, G Abbott, R Sweeney.
C Kenny, N Galway, S Valentine, A O’Keeffe, O Conlon, C Phelan, A O’Gorman, J O’Keeffe, H Scott, C Delaney, L Valentine.
L Murray, E O’Carroll, J De Toulgeot, L Buckley, E Murphy, L Power, S Holohan.
C Maher (Waterford)