By John Fogarty, Croke Park
Kilkenny 1-22 Galway 1-18
Galway were left to curse an abject second half as Kilkenny provided another master-class in saving their best hurling for when it mattered most to claim an 11th All-Ireland title under Brian Cody.
As Cody's body language indicated at the break, Kilkenny were in trouble in the first half as Galway outworked them.
But they returned to the pitch a new team, shooting just two second half wides and restricting the Galway forward line to just one point from play.
Trailing by three points at half-time, Kilkenny levelled it up in the 43rd minute when TJ Reid posted a 65.
Substitute David Collins scored his first of two to push Galway back into the lead but the momentum was all with Kilkenny as Richie Hogan and then Reid with another 65 edged them ahead.
From there to the end, they hardly looked troubled. Jason Whelan cut the gap to one point in the 49th minute but the next three scores came from Kilkenny, Joe Canning and Jason Flynn so brilliant in the first half now conspicuous by their absence.
That had plenty to do with the ruthlessness of the Kilkenny defence who were feeding their forwards with ample ball.
The margin grew to five points with a Padraic Walsh point in the 65th minute after Whelan had fluffed a chance after a rare Kilkenny mix-up at the other end.
Richie Power, in his first appearance for Kilkenny this year, was a nuisance for the Galway defence as they pushed themselves further away from Galway.
Wides by Canning from a relatively easy free, Greg Lally and Conor Cooney were killers. Canning goaled from a free at the death but it was all so futile.
Galway were a shadow of their first half selves. Reid's 14th minute goal had hardly rocked Galway who were showing the type of intensity that won them a Leinster final against Kilkenny three years ago.
If they weren't securing ball in the air, they were spoiling it for Kilkenny. Canning led the march in the early stages, picking off two points from play after an early free, his radar much better than it had been in his last two games.
Reid's goal came about after Walter Walsh had followed up a speculative Richie Hogan strike inside. Walsh beat John Hanbury and passed the ball across to Reid who finished low beyond Colm Callanan.
Kilkenny's lead lasted three minutes as Galway, as they did in their win over Tipperary, responded well to the goal.
They went ahead again but only briefly as Galway strung together five points in a row, two of them coming from frees for overcarrying by Eoin Larkin.
Such was the pressure Galway were putting on the Leinster champions.
Flynn and Canning were excelling while Reid and Hogan were relatively quiet at the other end.
Kilkenny did rally towards the end but it was Galway who finished off the scoring through Canning to lead 0-14 to 1-8 at the interval.
Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid (1-7, 0-5 frees, 0-2 65s); R Hogan, E Larkin, G Aylward, C Fennelly, M Fennelly, W Walsh (0-2 each); J Coen (own point), C Fogarty, P Walsh (0-1 each).
Scorers for Galway: J Canning (1-8, 1-5 frees); J Flynn (0-4, 3 frees); C Whelan, D Collins (0-2 each); C Donnellan, David Burke (0-1 each).
Subs for Kilkenny: R Power for R Hogan (60); J Power for G Aylward (62); G Lally for C Donnellan (64);
Subs for Galway: D Collins for A Harte (24); F Moore for A Smith (blood, 43-45); G Lally for A Smith (blood, 51-52); C Cooney for A Smith (56); S Maloney for J Flynn (65);
KILKENNY: E Murphy; P Murphy, J Holden, S Prendergast; P Walsh, K Joyce, C Buckley; M Fennelly, C Fogarty; C Fennelly, R Hogan, TJ Reid; G Aylward, W Walsh, E Larkin.
GALWAY: C Callanan; P Mannion, J Hanbury, J Coen; I Tannian, Daithi Burke, A Harte; A Smith, David Burke; J Flynn, C Donnellan, J Glynn; C Whelan, J Canning, C Mannion.
Referee: J Owens (Wexford)