Points in the closing minutes from Liam Blanchfield and James Maher secured a hard-earned victory for St Kieran's over neighbours Castlecomer CS in a fiercely-contested
semi-final in Freshford.
Ten minutes from the end, Castlecomer drew right up on the winners' shoulder when Conor Delaney rifled over a '65' to leave them within sight of a place in the final against either Kilkenny CBS or Good Counsel, who meet next Saturday in Thomastown (1.0).
However, when under pressure, St Kieran's produced their best. A lovely point from captain Eoin Gough steadied the ship (1-6 to 0-6) and St Kieran's added two late, late scores to secure their passage.
The hurling was hard, but both sides were guilty of poor finishing, with Kieran's leading from the eighth minute thanks to a Vincent Teehan goal.
The famed Kilkenny nursery led by 1-3 to 0-2 at half-time and while Castlecomer had the arrears down to a pair of points twice during the closing half, they couldn't find the goal they so badly needed.
SCORERS – St Kieran's College: V Teehan 1-0, E Gough 0-2 (1f), J Maher 0-2, E Walsh 0-1(f), P Mullen 0-1(f), L Blanchfield, S Rafter 0-1 each. Castlecomer CS: S Kinsella 0-4 (3f), C Delaney (65) and G Dunne 0-1 each.
St KIERAN'S COLLEGE – G English; S Morrissey, J Tyrrell, C Breen; E Walsh, J Maher, M O'Neill; C Bolger, L Blanchfield; S Farrell, E Gough, M Kenny; S Rafter, V Teehan, P Mullen. Subs: L Tennyson for M O'Neill, J Deasy for M Kenny, P Hickey for S Farrell.
CASTLECOMER CS – J Shore; P Brennan, N Feehan, A Dowd; C Delaney, C Wallace, P Cass; E Brennan, D Shortall; S Kinsella, P Delaney, S Rice; D Shore, D Brennan, O Feehan. Subs: G Dunne for D Brennan, L Cass for A Dowd, N McMahon for O Feehan.
REF – P Moran (Laois)