A league champion will only be crowned in 2021 in the event of Galway meeting Kilkenny in the championship - otherwise the Tribesmen will share the title after topping their group.
A 12-point second-half swing saw Galway record their fourth league win and, in the process, finish first in Group A, leapfrogging Tipperary who fell to Waterford.
The most likely Championship meeting of Galway and Kilkenny is the Leinster final, which would then double as a National League decider.
Shane O'Neill's charges outscored their Leeside hosts by 3-13 to 0-11 in the second period, with the fourth and final quarter proving most decisive, this a period Galway took by 1-8 to 0-6.
The visitors’ third and final goal came in the 63rd minute, at a time when the sides were deadlocked at 2-21 apiece. David Burke fed the excellent Cathal Mannion who batted beyond Patrick Collins. Niall Burke and Jason Flynn followed with points and, all of a sudden, a Galway side who did not lead this contest for the first time until the 53rd minute found themselves five clear.
Cork searched for goals late on, the closest they came was a Patrick Horgan 20-metre free kept out by Fintan Burke.
Behind by six at the break, Galway managed to get themselves back on level terms come the second water break, goals from Conor Whelan on 38 minutes and Conor Cooney on 52 minutes wiping out their opponents' lead.
Cork will be so disappointed with how they fell away in the second period, the hosts managing just four second-half points from play.
As mentioned above, Kieran Kingston’s charges led 2-12 to 0-12 at the interval, the Cork green flags arriving at either end of the half.
The hosts’ green flag opener manifested itself inside two minutes, a Patrick Horgan handpass to Conor Cahalane taking out four Galway defenders and, in the process, putting Cahalane in the clear. The Barrs clubman held his nerve to finish clinically.
Cork’s second was a far more fortuitous effort, an Eanna Murphy short puckout on 33 minutes falling through the fingers of Gearoid McInerney. The mistake was quickly capitalised upon by Jack O’Connor who sent the sliotar whistling past Murphy.
All told, it was a difficult first-half for McInerney on Cork talisman Patrick Horgan as the home side were forever seeking to utilise the space in front of their captain.
Horgan, as well as engineering Cork’s opening goal, hit three points from play and a further two dead-ball efforts.
Among the other Cork contributors was Darragh Fitzgibbon with a sweet pair of points on 26 and 27 minutes, this brace sandwiching a Mark Coleman belter from distance.
The Cork centre-back was instrumental in preventing a Galway goal shortly after the resumption of play following the first water break, Coleman flicking away to safety an Adrian Tuohey handpass bound for the onrushing Joseph Cooney.
It was the second Galway goal chance of the game that amounted to nothing as an earlier Evan Niland drive was well stopped by ‘keeper Patrick Collins.
Niland was responsible for half of Galway’s first-half total, throwing over a smattering of frees, 65s, and one from play.
Galway's outlook improved significantly upon the change of ends, the westerners finishing the afternoon and the League at the top of Group A.
E Niland (0-8, 0-4 frees, 0-2 65s); C Mannion (1-2); C Cooney C Whelan (1-1 each); B Concannon (0-4); J Cooney (0-3); P Mannion, F Burke, S Loftus, J Flynn (0-1 free) N Burke, D Burke (0-1 each).
P Horgan (0-11, 0-8 frees); J O’Connor (1-2); C Cahalane (1-1); D Fitzgibbon (0-4); S Kingston (0-2); M Coleman, B Hennessy, R O’Flynn (0-1 each).
E Murphy; D Morrissey, G McInerney, TJ Brennan; P Mannion, D Burke, F Burke; S Loftus, C Mannion; A Tuohey, E Niland, J Cooney; C Whelan, C Cooney, B Concannon.
J Fitzpatrick for D Morrissey (44 mins, inj); D Burke for Tuohey (47); J Flynn for C Cooney (53); N Burke for J Cooney (57); S Linnane for McInerney, J Mannion for Niland (both 64).
P Collins; S O’Donoghue, E Cadogan, G Millerick; T O’Mahony, M Coleman, D Cahalane; L Meade, D Fitzgibbon; C Cahalane, S Harnedy, S Barrett; S Kingston, P Horgan, J O’Connor.
A Cadogan for Barrett (HT); R O’Flynn for C Cahalane, A Connolly for Harnedy (both 53); B Hennessy for L Meade, D Dalton for Meade (both 63); T Deasy for Kingston (67); S O’Leary Hayes for Millerick (69).
P O’Dwyer (Carlow).