Kilkenny minor hurlers had to work really hard before overcoming a gallant Westmeath side at Mullingar on Saturday.
The Cats, who included five of last year’s All-Ireland winning side, were fortunate to come away from Cusack Park with a narrow 2-10 to 1-11 victory.
Kevin Kelly was the top scorer Kilkenny, hitting 1-6 of his side’s tally. The Cats led by nine points at halftime, with Kelly and Johnny Hayes scoring the goals. Westmeath were the better side in the second period and drew level when Niall O’Brien scored a goal with less than ten minutes to play.
However, Kelly added a point and another from sub Danny Lenihan was enough to give Kilkenny a narrow win.
Kilkenny: Aaron Duggan; Luke Hickey, Ciaran Doyle, Enda Morrissey; Diarmuid Cody, Owen McGrath, Eoin Moriarity; David Kearns, Chris Bolger; Conor Martin, Kevin Kelly (1-6), Peter Vickery; Thomas O’Hanrahan, Richie Reid (0-)1, Johnny Hayes (1-1). Subs: Mark Mansfield for Peter Vickery, Robert Moran (0-1) for R Reid, Daniel Lenihan (0-1) for C Bolger.