A hard-fought performance helped to blow away the disappointment of Wexford Park and earn Kilkenny a place in the second round of the senior All-Ireland hurling qualifiers.
The Cats didn’t sparkle over the 70 minutes, but had enough in reserve to see off Limerick in front of more than 15,000 spectators at Nowlan Park tonight (Saturday).
In the end, a stirring scoring run in the closing stages saw Brian Cody’s side book their place in Monday morning’s draw with Dublin, Tipperary and Waterford. Subs Kevin Kelly (0-2) and Lester Ryan fired over points that saw Kilkenny race ahead before Walter Walsh battled for possession and struck another to leave five between the sides (0-18 to 0-13) with six minutes to go.
Kilkenny were sharp to get going, with T.J. Reid (0-4) and Walsh (0-3) doing the bulk of their first half scoring while Paddy Deegan (0-2) also grabbed some fine scores from midfield. Limerick struggled to establish a rhythm at times - they hit 13 wides in the first half - but while they trailed by two at the break (0-10 to 0-8) they made a bright start to the second half and were level at 0-12 apiece by the 44th minute.
They continued to chase the Cats into the final quarter, but struggled to break down Kilkenny, who held firm in defence and remained content to snipe scores until the final whistle.
SCORERS: Kilkenny - T.J .Reid (0-8, 0-6 frees); Walter Walsh (0-4); Paddy Deegan (0-3); Kevin Kelly, Lester Ryan (0-2 each); Chris Bolger (0-1). Limerick - Shane Dowling (0-8, 0-6 frees); Peter Casey (0-4); Gearoid Hegarty (0-2); Kyle Hayes, Pat Ryan, Barry Nash (0-1 each).