Cuddihy and Cahill points secure title for Kilkenny CBS
Kilkenny CBS made up for the bitter disappointment of losing the Leinster final 12 months ago when they charged to a famous victory over fierce rivals St Kieran's College at Nowlan Park.
In doing so, they claimed their seventh title and their first since 2006. It was all the sweeter for them that they denied St Kieran's a fourth provincial crown in succession having lost two of the previous three finals to the same opponents and endured heartbreak in four set-pieces since their last victory.
The winners looked to have edged into a very strong position when sub Gary Kelly scored a goal in the 28th minute to push them 2-4 to 0-4 ahead.
But Kieran's, kings of Leinster with 52 titles to their credit, hit back for a fine goal from James Deacy right on the break to leave one big score between them (2-4 to 1-4) at half-way.
CBS didn't flinch after the turn, and rather than being hurt by the concession of the late goal, it appeared to inspire them.
They dominated the next 10 minutes or so, and points from Paddy Cahill (free), Luke Scanlon and Paul Delahanty put them back into a strong position as the opposition hit a barren scoring spell.
St Kieran's took 14 minutes of the new half to add to their account, which they did with a point from their best player, Stephen Farrell from just short of midfield to make the scoreline 2-7 to 1-5.
When midfielder Chris Bolger pointed a free for the losers within a minute, the door back into the match was open for them again.
However, CBS all but bolted the shutters after that and they drove on to add points through full-forward Shane Cuddihy – his effort might easily have been a goal after he was put through by Robbie Fitzpatrick – and Cahill to take the honours.
The game started very promisingly and the early hurling was top class, with the movement of the ball and striking by both teams being particularly good.
However, things fell back subsequently as the teams closed down each other and it was a dour battle right to the finish.
The winners qualify for the All-Ireland semi-finals, while Kieran's will try and resurrect their season in the quarter-finals in two weeks' time.
SCORERS – Kilkenny CBS: K Kenny 1-1, G Kelly 1-0, P Cahill
0-3 (3f), JP Treacy 0-2 (2f), L Scanlon, S Cuddihy, P Delahanty 0-1 each. St Kieran's College: C Bolger 0-4 (3f), S Farrell 0-3, J Deacy 1-0.
KILKENNY CBS – D Holohan; C McGrath, E Cody, D Scott; C Cahill, R Fitzpatrick, P Deegan; JP Treacy, N. Mullins; D Bolger, K Kenny, P Delahanty; L Scanlon, S Cuddihy, P Cahill. Subs: G Kelly for D Bolger, M McWey for Delahanty.
ST KIERAN'S COLLEGE – G English; S Morrissey, J Tyrrell, C Breen; S Parsons, J Maher, E Walsh; C Bolger, L Blanchfield; V Teehan, E Gough, S Farrell; S Rafter, P Mullen, J Deacy. Subs: P White for S Morrissey; Ml Kenny for S Parsons; P Hickey for Mullen; J Cotter for L Blanchfield.
REF – P Burke (Kilkenny).