Game at a glance
Man of the match
Seadna Morey (Clare)
The defender may have finished on the losing side, but he was still the outstanding player on view in yesterday's curtain-raiser. The Sixmilebridge player was superb at left corner-back and his marker Thomas O'Hanrahan was substituted early in the second half.
Kilkenny's ability to score goals is what sets them apart from the rest at all grades. And two in an eight-minute spell ultimately proved crucial for the winners. Clare got more scores, 14 to 12, than Kilkenny but it still wasn't enough as they failed to find the net - which was nothing unusual as the Cats didn't leak a goal all season.
Clare finished just two points behind a Kilkenny team that had demolished Galway by 19 points in the semi-final. That one-sided affair led the bookies to install the Cats as 1/12 favourites for the final, ludicrous odds in a two-horse race.
Laois whistler Anthony Stapleton erred in the first half, awarding a penalty when Kilkenny's Ollie Walsh was fouled outside the large square. But apart from that, Stapleton did a good job and kept the free count to a minimum, allowing the game to flow.
What they said
Donal Maloney (Clare joint-manager):
"Maybe the better team always wins but today, for long periods, we dominated the game. Kilkenny stuck at it when things were going pretty badly for them and nobody has the knack of getting goals like Kilkenny, unfortunately."
Richie Mulrooney (Kilkenny manager):
"I'm absolutely thrilled for this bunch of players. I will stand over what we have said about them -- they are one of the best ever minor teams to come out of our county."
Wides: Clare 7 (3); Kilkenny 3 (2).
Frees: Clare 11 (7); Kilkenny 9 (5).
Yellow cards: Clare 1 (1) (D O'Halloran); Kilkenny 2 (1) (W Phelan, P Holden).
Red cards: Clare 0; Kilkenny 0.