However, the black and amber kittens were made of sterner stuff and they never panicked afterwards.Their defensive unit was resplendent as they restricted Cork to only a solitary point over the closing half-hour
The full-back line of the tight-marking Jane Cullen, the imperious Ruth Jones, and the tigerish Grace Walsh were truly magnificent .
While in front of them, the battling Margaret Simpson, the inspirational Laura Fennelly and the hard-working Davina Tobin yielded little as they completed a formidable defensive unit.
Aisling Dunphy was outstanding during the second-half as she was a constant driving force, while the swashbuckling Niamh Mulhall and the hard-working Niamh Byrne also contributed handsomely during the second-half.Claire Phelan 0-5(0-4 frees) made a valuable contribution while the opportunism of Michelle Farrell, and highly gifted 13-year-old Ciara Holden were often a constant threat as Kilkenny produced a magnificent second-half team performance
A low scoring first-half saw Kilkenny trail narrowly 1-4 to 1-2 at the interval having played against a stiffish breeze.
Team captain Michelle Farrell opened the scoring with a well taken point after just 42 seconds, before Cork responded with points from Miraha Reidy and Katrina Mackey as they led 0-2 to 0-1 after 15 minutes.Cork were awarded a lucky breakthrough when a shot out on the far wing on the sideline by Katie Harrington saw unfortunate Kilkenny goalkeeper Laura Walker attemp to bat the sliothar into an empty net. 1-2 to 0-1.
However, Kilkenny responded in the 20th minute when an attempted delivery by Cira Holden wasn’t dealt with by Cork goalkeeper Tessa Hawkes.
Michelle Maher was on hand, and despite mis-hitting on the first attempt, she obliged to squeeze the faintest of touches over the goal-line. 1-2 to 1-1.
Claire Phelan pointed a free in the 24th minute, before the Mackey sisters wing-backs Pamela and Katriona concluded the first-half scoring with well taken points. 1-4 to 1-2.
Cork appeared to be in the driving seat early in the second-half when an inch-perfect delivery by Joanne Casey found Katie Buckley and she blasted her shot that gave Laura Walker no chance.
2-4 to 1-2. However, Kilkenny responded with an unanswerable 2-5 over the next 20 minutesClaire Phelan pointed a free, before a long delivery from Aisling Dunphy eventually saw Ciara Holden win possession, and she managed to swerve and turn to blast home a rocket blast finish. 2-4 to 2-3.
Claire Phelan equalised moments later with a well taken point from distance as they were dominant in every department.
Ciara Holden pointed to edge Kilkenny ahead in the 45th minute before Phelan converted another free.
The decisive moment though came in the 50th minute when a long range shot from Niamh Byrne saw Cork goalkeeper Tessa Hawkes fumble possession, and Michelle Farrell took advantage to blast home her low shot from close range. 3-6 to 2-4.
Phelan pointed another free, before Cork goal-scorer Katie Buckley set up Aileen O’Donovan and she blasted over the crossbar despite having the goal at her mercy.
Kilkenny though held firm to record 4-in-a-row following a compelling contest.
Laura Walker Windgap
Jane Cullen Rower
Niamh Byrne Clara
Siobhan Healy Dicksboro
Ruth Jones Glenmore
Laura Fennelly Young Irelands
Davina Tobin Emeralds
Margaret Simpson Young Irelands
Aishling Dunphy St Brigids
Michelle Maher St Martins
Eimear Mulhall Lisdowney
Michelle Farrell (Capt) Thomastown
Maeve Mansfield St Martins
Claire Phelan Lisdowney
Claire Aylward Glenmore
Aishling Brennan St Martins
Sonia Buggy Dicksboro
Aishling Carey Young Irelands
Emma Comerford Young Irelands
Jennifer Cunningham Danesfort
Aishling Curtis Clara
Niamh Dowling Tullaroan
Laura Fennelly Carrickshock
Aoife Lyng Rower
Noelle Maher St Lachtains
Yvone Mc Grath St Lachtains
Aoife Murphy Lisdowney
Brid Murphy Clara
Grace Murphy Lisdowney
Laura Wall Mooncoin
Grace Walsh Tullaroan
Ciara Holden Mullinavat
Isobel Robinson Clara