Limerick started fast but were denied when Ritchie Hogan stoned John Loftus on his first-minute effort. The Cats then took the lead when Shane O’Donnell pointed 3:30 minutes in.
John Loftus replied in kind for Limerick before Kilkenny missed a chance to turn the match their way. Mike Collins tried to beat Finbar Flood with a bounced shot, but luck was not on his side as Collins’s effort bounced high and deflected over for a point.
That shot typified Collins’s afternoon as several times the big forward just missed on goal tries. Limerick pointed twice from Dave Dunne and Ted Hourigan before striking back-to-back goals. Noel Carton and Hourigan shook the twines less than a minute apart and Limerick were on their way.
Jerome Edge got one goal back for Kilkenny as the half wound down and Limerick led 2-7 to 1-4 at the break.
Scores were scarce in the second half with Limerick adding just 0-2 to their total, while Kilkenny fared only slightly better with 1-2 from the final 30 minutes. Kilkenny overestimated their deficit trying to force goals when a more patient attack could have yielded points and perhaps a win.
Instead, it was Limerick Captain Finbar Flood who raised the Brendan Keane Cup and Limerick were crowned the champions.
Man of the Match: Ted Hourigan.
Limerick: Finbar Flood, Justin White, Noel O’Brien, Neil Mullane, Vinnie Norton, Morgan Finnerty, Mike Barron, Kieran Dowling, Ted Hourigan (1-4), James McSweeney (0-1), Dave Dunne (0-1), Noel Carton (1-0), John Loftus (0-2). Subs: Brendan Cagney (0-1), John Mulcahy, Tadgh Lyons, Aidrian Lynch.
Kilkenny: Ritchie Hogan, Jamie Kennedy, John Morgan, Dan Murphy, Paul Conroy, James Enright, Kevin McKay (0-2, 2 free), Brian McMillan, Jerome Edge (1-1), Tony Coughan (1-0), Aiden Cottrell, Shane O’Donnell (0-2, 1 free), Mike Collins (0-1). Sub: John Doyle.