Kilkenny set up a final date with Dublin thanks to a hard-fought win over Laois yesterday. A late spree gave the score a more favourable look for the winners, but they failed to shake off a stubborn Laois side for much of the game.
Aidan Fogarty pounced for an early goal as he flicked a rebound from Paddy Mullaney's save into an empty net. Laois responded with points from Willie Hyland and Sean Bourke but the visitors began to flex their muscles after that, and opened up a 1-6 to 0-4 lead before Richie Hogan raced clear for the Cats' second goal. Laois responded well, however, and John Brophy's green flag made it 2-8 to 1-4 at the break.
Scores were hard-earned in a scrappy second half but Kilkenny never really looked like losing, Hogan's second goal capping a deserved win for Brian Cody's men.
SCORERS -- Kilkenny: R Hogan 2-6 (0-3f, 0-1 '65'), A Fogarty 1-2, C Fennelly, P Hogan (1 '65') 0-2 each, J Mulhall, M Fennelly, E Larkin, M Ruth, 0-1 each. Laois: W Hyland 0-7 (0-4f, 1 '65'), J Brophy 1-0, S Bourke 0-2.
KILKENNY -- D Herrity; P Murphy, J Dalton, C Fogarty; T Walsh, J Tyrrell, JJ Delaney; M Fennelly, P Hogan; R Hogan, M Rice, J Mulhall; C Fennelly, E Larkin, A Fogarty. Subs: M Ruth for Mulhall (52), PJ Delaney for JJ Delaney (52), E Brennan for A Fogarty (57).
LAOIS -- P Mullaney; B Smith, B Campion, B Stapleton; J Fitzpatrick, M Whelan, C Dunne; J Walsh, S Bourke; B Dunne, O Houlihan, W Hyland; J Purcell, T Fitzgerald, J Brophy. Subs: N Foyle for Houlihan (43), JA Delaney for C Dunne (43), E Reilly for Mullaney (49), R Gill for Fitzgerald (57), B Galvin for Stapleton (64).
REF -- J McGrath (Westmeath).