Kilkenny claimed their third win of the campaign without experiencing too many complications and it was enough to shoot them through to the quarter-finals of the Allianz National Hurling League.

Laois did threaten seriously for a while at UPMC Nowlan Park on Sunday, particularly during the opening stages of the second half when wind assisted.

They out-scored the opposition by 0-05 to 0-02, but they never looked likely winners.

The Cats, led by young captain for the day, Eoin Cody, who took over the free taking duties during the second half, played their way out of trouble.

Then a goal from a penalty by Cody in the 45th minute after Walter Walsh had been fouled more or less decided it.

Kilkenny jumped into a 3-19 to 1-13 lead after that score, and in that moment they more or less secured their third place finish in Division 1B. 

The first half largely turned on two goal chances, one missed and the other scored. Laois threatened first in the second minute.

However, after full-forward Willie Dunphy beat the defence and got a cracking shot on target, he was deprived by a super stop by home goalie, Darren Brennan.

Wind backed Kilkenny enjoyed better luck in the sixth minute. A huge clearance out of defence by Ciaran Wallace ended with Ger Aylward flicking a lovely ball to Billy Ryan, who raced through for a goal and a lead of 1-01 to 0-01.

Goal chances were far from rare, but they were not added to until late in the goal. 

Kilkenny eased forward after that Ryan score, without ever threatening to over-run the opposition. By the break, seven of their front eight players had scored; Walter Walsh being the odd man out.

The winners led by a comfortable 2-15 to 1-08 at the break, fans having been treated to two goals late in the half.

The first was scored by Alan Murphy for Kilkenny, but within seconds a stray back passed sideline cut by the home side led to Ross King being fouled in the big square.

The penalty awarded was rammed home by Laois goalie, Enda Rowland to leave the score at 2-15 to 1-08.


Kilkenny: E Cody (1-08, four points frees, two 65s); A Murphy (1-05, three points frees, one 65); Billy Ryan (1-01); M Keoghan, J Maher (0-02 each); D Brennan (0-01, free); R Leahy, G Aylward, J Bergin (0-01 each).

Laois: R King (0-08, four frees, two 6s); P Purcell, W. Dunphy (0-03 each); E Rowland (1-00, penalty); E Gaughan (0-02); J Lennon, A Dunphy, J Ryan (0-01 each).

Kilkenny: D Brennan; T Walsh, H Lawlor, C Wallace; C Delaney, P Walsh, D Mullen; R Leahy, J Maher; M Keoghan, E Cody, A Murphy; B Ryan, W Walsh, G Aylward.

Subs: L Scanlon for A Murphy (ht), B Sheehan for W Walsh (48 mins), M Carey for J Maher (51), J Bergin for M.Keoghan (56), S Walsh for G Aylward (65). 

Laois: E Rowland; L Senior, M Whelan, D Hartnett; R Broderick, P Delaney, C McEvoy; FC Fennell, C Stapleton; A Dunphy, J Ryan, P Purcell; R King, W Dunphy, E. Gaughan.

Subs: J Kelly for L Senior (27), J Lennon for C Stapleton (30), C Taylor for J Ryan (65), J Keyes for C McEvoy (65), C Phelan for FC Fennell (68). 

Referee: J Keenan (Wicklow)