It was always going to be tight as these two rivals came head-to-head in a sun-drenched Foulkstown on Sunday afternoon.
A semi-final place in the Towns Cup was at stake and both sets of players knew exactly what was on offer as a nervy and tense display from these neighbours made it less of a spectacle and more of a war of attrition.
And that war was eventually won by the home side despite a valiant effort from a spirited Carlow side.
Two penalties from Kilkenny winger Hugh Corkery was the highlight of the action in the first 20 minutes as they took a crucial 6-0 lead.
Neither side could take control of the game despite some pressure deep in opposition territory as a much-needed try to open up the game did not materialise.
The first try of the game did come right before the interval as some good Carlow build-up play ended with Danny Crotty crossing in the left corner to give his side their first points of the game.
The scoreboard read Kilkenny 6-5 Carlow at half-time as the conversion attempt from Richard White went wide of the post.
The second half was similar to the first 40 minutes as both sides struggled to create clear scoring opportunities despite playing in close to perfect conditions in front of a lively crowd.
Kilkenny grabbed their only try of the game within the first two minutes of the second half as David O’Connor finished superbly and a pivotal conversion from Corkery made it a two-score game.
Leading by 13-5, Kilkenny made the remainder of the game very difficult for their opponents as Carlow failed to utilise large periods of possession.
A late penalty with two minutes remaining from Carlow kicker White left the game on a knife-edge as the clock ticked past 80 minutes with Carlow needing a try to extend the game into extra-time.
Although they moved forward in a desperate search for that game-saving score, Carlow could not open up the Kilkenny defence as the home side deservedly advanced to the semi-final.