Joe Canning struck a stoppage time equaliser to send the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship final to a replay for the first time since 1959.
Canning smashed home a brilliant 10th minute goal, and his 1-6 tally helped the Tribesmen to a 1-09 to 0-07 interval lead, with Henry Shefflin converting four Kilkenny frees.
The Cats went in front, before Niall Burke fired in Galway’s second goal. Shefflin finished with 12 points, but Canning’s 1-09 tally dictated that two great teams must meet again following a superb encounter.
Croke Park erupted when Canning conjured a piece of magic with a Galway goal in the tenth minute.
The 23-year-old full forward appeared on the shoulder of James Regan to sweep around three approaching defenders and smash a sweet angled shot past David Herity
Shefflin had opened the scoring, but his accuracy was well below standard as he struck a handful of wides.
Canning also sent a couple wide of the target, but eased the Tribesmen 1-03 to 0-02 ahead from a free, after Niall Burke had beaten Brian Hogan to a high delivery.
The pressure exerted by Fergal More and Tony Og Regan forced the champions into a rash of misses, and once again, Burke rose high to collect and finish with a point.
Kilkenny were struggling in many areas, but pulled back a point through TJ Reid, but once again, Galway had the Liam McCarthy Cup holders under pressure, and when wing back Niall Donoghue finished off a composed passage of possession play with a long range point, they led by 1-07 to 0-03.
Constantly forced onto the back foot, Kilkenny were forced to concede another free as Damien Hayes ran strongly into the danger area, and Canning obliged with his fourth placed ball conversion.
Kilkenny staged a late flourish, with Shefflin nailing three frees, a welcome respite that reduced the deficit to five, Galway ahead by 1-09 to 0-07 at the break.
Kilkenny built momentum in the early stages of the second half, cutting the deficit through Reid and Richie Power, with Shefflin hitting the target twice more from frees.
Paul Murphy and Jackie Tyrell were solid at the back, with Brian Hogan now performing with assurance following a shaky first half, and now it was Galway who struggled for scores.
Aidan Fogarty darted through to narrow the gap to a single point in the 49th minute, and it was Shefflin who brought the Cats level with his first point from play, before adding the lead point from a monster free.
Galway had managed just a point in the previous 20 minutes, but they struck a major blow when Niall Burke picked up a loose ball and set off towards goal with intent and blasted a fierce shot past David Herity in the 55th minute.
Galway goalkeeper kept his side in front with a stunning save from Colin Fennelly, but Shefflin brought his side level again with his tenth score.
Larkin had the champions back in front, thanks to another inspirational intervention at the back by Brian Hogan.
Two Canning frees kept Galway hopes very much alive, but Shefflin was the man who was destined to decide this gripping decider.
When Kilkenny were awarded a penalty for a foul on Larkin, King Henry opted to tap the ball over the bar, but Canning held his nerve to level it in stoppage time from a free.
Kilkenny scorers: H Shefflin 0-12 (10f, 1 pen), E Larkin, TJ Reid 0-02 each, A Gogarty, R Power, R Hogan.
Galway scorers: J Canning 1-09 (0-08f), N Burke 1-02, A Smith, N Donoghue 0-01 each
Kilkenny: D Herity, P Murphy, JJ Delaney, J Tyrell, T Walsh, B Hogan, K Joyce, M Fennelly, R Hogan, H Shefflin, TJ Reid, E Larkin, C Fennelly, R Power, A Fogarty.
Subs: M Ruth for C Fennelly
Galway: J Skehill, J Coen, K Hynes, F Moore, N Donoghue, T Og Regan, D Collins, A Smith, I Tannion, D Burke, N Burke, C Donnellan, D Hayes, J Canning, J Regan.
Subs: C Cooney for Regan, J Glynn for Cooney, J Cooney for N Burke, D Glennon for Hayes
Referee: B Kelly (Westmeth)