Goals in extra time by Denise Gaule and Julie Ann Malone earned Kilkenny victory over brave Tipperary and a place in the senior camogie league final.
In the semi-final in Carriganore on Sunday the Cats showed real fighting spirit to set up a shoot-out with Galway in a fortnight’s time.
In a low scoring first half it was Tipperary who opened the scoring with a Jenny Grace point (45). Denise Gaule responded for Kilkenny with two pointed frees.
Tipperary deployed a sweeper with corner forwards Ereena Fryday and Sarah Fryday covering the middle third of the field. As a result Kilkenny found it difficult to breech the Premier rearguard.
Tipperary went ahead with two points from Ereena Fryday and Jenny Grace (0-3 to 0-2).
Denise Gaule equalised in the 15th minute with an excellent long range point. Kilkenny were nearly in for the first goal when Aine Gannon broke threw the Tipp defence but her effort was brilliantly saved.
Shelly Farrell edged Kilkenny ahead again before Jenny Grace equalised. Miriam Walsh put Kilkenny into the lead again by a point .
Tipperary closed out the half with two quick fire points to lead at the break by 0-6 to 0-5.
Kilkenny began the new half well and equalised when Julie Ann Malone tapped over a point. Jenny Grace responded for Tipp.
The Kilkenny management then switched Ann Dalton from centre-back to midfield and introduced Sarah Ann Quinlan. Slowly they began to unravel the blanket Tipp defence.
Denise Gaule equalised with a point from as the action thundered on. Jenny Grace edged Tipp ahead.
Kilkenny bounced back. Ann Dalton started the run with a free after Sarah Ann Quinlan was fouled. Quinlan then tapped over a point from 20 metres after latching onto a Julie Ann Malone pass in the 58th minute.
It looked like Kilkenny might clinch victory. However, Jenny Grace tapped over a 45 in the first minute of injury time to force extra time (0-9 each).
Tipperary began the extra time well. Jenny Grace pointed. Kilkenny hit back with two per Denise Gaule and Ann Dalton: Kilkenny 0-11 to 0-10.
Jenny Grace, who had a terrific game, equalised. One of the crucial scores came just on the stroke of half time when brilliant forward link up play between Shelly Farrell and Sarah Ann Quinlan ended with Denise Gaule blasting the sliotar to the net (1-11 to 0-11).
Tipperary opened the scoring in the second period of extra time with a Jenny Grace point from a 45 in the opening minute to cut the gap to two.
Ann Dalton pushed Kilkenny three points clear again (1-12 to 0-12) with a free from 40 metres after she was fouled a minute later.
The winners put the game to bed in the 75th minute when Julie Ann Malone latched on to a brilliant cross field pass from Ann Dalton to tap home from the edge of the small square to put Kilkenny 2-12 to 0-12 ahead.
Tipperary responded with a Jenny Grace free from 30 metres in the 77th minute.
Ann Dalton responded for Kilkenny with a point from 45 metres in the 78th minute. Credit to Tipperary, they never gave up and they grabbed the last two points of the contest through Jenny Grace.
She started the run with a point from a penalty in the 81st minute and from a free in the 83rd minute from 35 metres but it was too little too late.
Kilkenny held out and recorded a battling 2-13 to 0-15 victory to secure a league final berth against Galway, who beat Limerick in the other semi-final, on May 1.
SCORERS: Kilkenny - Denise Gaule (1-5, 0-2 frees); Julie Ann Malone (1-1); Ann Dalton (0-4, three frees); Shelly Farrell, Miriam Walsh, Sarah Ann Quinlan (0-1 each). Tipperary - Jenny Grace (0-11, seven frees, three 45s’); Shauna Quirke (0-2); Ereena Fryday, Sarah Fryday (0-1 each).
Kilkenny - Emma Kavanagh, Jacqui Frisby, Edwina Keane, Sarah Kent, Claire Phelan, Ann Dalton, Davina Tobin, Miriam Frisby, Kellyann Doyle, Denise Gaule, Julie Ann Malone, Anna Farrell, Aine Gannon, Miriam Walsh, Shelly Farrell. Subs: Ann Marie Lennon, Sarah Crowley, Maureen Walsh, Colette Dormer, Stacey Quirke, Aoife Neary, Michelle Quilty, Kate McDonald, Sarah Ann Quinlan, Laura Murphy, Aine Connery, Meighan Farrell, Katie Power, Grace Walsh.
Tipperary - Sabrina Larkin, Julie Ann Burke, Anne Eviston, Ciannait Walsh, Aoife McGrath, Caoimhe Maher, Gemma Grace, Teresa Ryan, Shauna Quirke, Nicole Walsh, Mairead Teehan, Mary Ryan, Sarah Fryday, Jenny Grace, Ereena Fryday. Subs: Orla McEniry, Megan Ryan, Miriam Campion, Laura Loughnane, Mairead Eviston, Roisin Howard, Andrea Loughnane, Alana Morris, Lorna O’Dwyer, Maria Kinane, Nicola Butler, Clodagh Quirke, Niamh Treacy, Roisin Cahill, Aoife Moloughney.
Referee - Ray Kelly (Kildare).