Kilkenny are through to the Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Hurling Championship final following a defeat of Wexford in Monday’s semi-final.
A late first half goal from Brian Moore proved to be the key moment in an intense encounter as Niall Bergin’s side secured a rematch with Galway in the decider.
Wexford started stronger than their opponents with superb scores from Colin Carley, Sean Hyland (2) and Jack Dunne giving them an early lead.
Kilkenny responded with talisman Conor Doyle getting the hosts opening three points before three unanswered scores from the classy Greg Kelly ushered the Cats into a deserved 0-06 to 0-04 lead as half-time approached.
James Stephens’ Ed McDermott extended the advantage and a brilliant finish from Moore when he ran through following successful frees exchanged by Conor Doyle and Jamie Doyle left the scoreboard reading 1-08 to 0-05 at the interval.
A fourth point from the outstanding Kelly seemed to rubberstamp the home team’s dominance at the start of the second half but six unanswered frees from the reliable Doyle forged a path back into the game for Wexford.
A lively crowd raised their voices as a tight affair entered its final quarter and Kilkenny stemmed the away side’s momentum with another point from McDermott that was immediately followed by the score of the game from Mikey Stynes to make it 1-11 to 0-11 with just over ten minutes of normal time remaining.
Conor Doyle’s fifth and sixth points of the game, and his first frees since the second half began gave Kilkenny a much-needed cushion and when substitute Robbie Doherty pointed with his first action since being introduced, it looked as though their neighbours had left themselves with too much to do.
Unfortunately for the travelling contingent, they had.
Three Doyle frees and a Hyland point helped bridge the gap with full-time looming but Kilkenny refused to let them get back into a position of ascendancy as Sean Bergin opened his account to make it 1-15 to 0-15 as a thrilling affair entered additional time.
Wexford’s Jack Nolan and Kelly both dissected the posts near the end and while Wexford continued to endeavour, two late scores from McDermott and St Martin’s clubman James O’Neill saw Kilkenny deservedly come out on top.