Holders Galway finally returned to the All-Ireland Final but it had it took almost 170 minutes to finally see off their obstinate neighbours who simply refused to lay down.

In front of a near capacity 44,246 attendance, the Tribesmen had to demonstrate all their championship winning mettle once more as they never allowed comeback kings Clare to pull level at any stage on their way to the slenderest of victories.

Amazingly, the pattern of this replay replicated the first duel as Galway overrode their opponents defensive structure to build up a nine point cushion by the 21st minute capped off by a superb opportunist goal from Jonathan Glynn.

However, while Clare were forced to reshuffle their pack, this time their backlash wasn't as immediate as 11 first half wides hampered their challenge while on top albeit that they did lower the arrears to six by the break at 1-9 to 0-6.

The second half would see the Banner go-for-broke and they would sensationally topple the deficit to just the minimum by the 53rd minute following inspirational goals from Shane O'Donnell and Peter Duggan.

However, despite carving out glorious opportunities to turn the tide including a late Aron Shanagher double effort that somehow stayed out thanks to goalkeeper James Skehill and then the post, Clare's luck was out this time around as Galway dug deep to answer on four more occasions to prevent any late upset.

Galway started with the same intent as the drawn game, benefitting from Clare's ultra-cautious set-up to dominate the opening quarter with nine of the first 11 points. Joe Canning (3), Conor Whelan (2), David Burke (2), Conor Cooney and Cathal Mannion provided the scores while up the other end, the champions were allowed at least two extra defenders for long periods as Clare's attacking division fed on scraps.

Tony Kelly finally grabbed the Banner's first point from play in the 18th minute but it would be answered emphatically from the puck-out as Joseph Cooney, operating at wing-back on Peter Duggan, delivered towards the square where Glynn held off the challenge of David McInerney to control the ball on his hurley and volley one-handed to the net at 1-9 to 0-3.

Peter Duggan's second half goal reduced the margin to one point

Clare were forced to come out of their shell but while Shane O'Donnell, Peter Duggan and Podge Collins did raid for points, they would be accompanied by seven wides while Donal Tuohy also had to be alert off his line to prevent Conor Cooney from sniping a second goal.

A heated start to the second half only sprung to life when O'Donnell produced a moment of magic to ignite Clare's challenge in the 42nd minute when gathering a break from a David McInerney delivery to weave through for a lifeline pulled goal followed quickly by a brace of Duggan frees at 1-11 to 1-09.

Niall Burke and Joe Canning did respond with points to restore a four point cushion, only for O'Donnell to turn provider for Peter Duggan to rifle to the top right corner of the net by the 53rd minute at 1-13 to 2-09.

That jolt ensured another grandstand finish but while Banner substitutes Ian Galvin and Aron Shanagher would match Canning frees, they simply couldn't gain parity.

Shanagher's 68th minute opportunity was certainly a let-off for Galway but they would crucially maintain their composure. Canning floated over a lineball before Niall Burke added what would be the winning score in the face of matching points from John Conlon and Duggan to squeeze over the line and finally inch into an All-Ireland decider against Limerick in a fortnight's time.

Galway: James Skehill; John Hanbury, Daithi Burke, Adrian Tuohey; Aidan Harte, Padraig Mannion, Joseph Cooney; Johnny Coen, David Burke (0-02); Joe Canning (0-08, 0-04f, 0-01s/l), Conor Whelan (0-03), Cathal Mannion (0-01); Niall Burke (0-02), Conor Cooney (0-01), Jonathan Glynn (1-00)

Subs:  Sean Loftus for Hanbury (55), Jason Flynn for C. Cooney (59), Davey Glennon for Glynn (72) 

Clare: Donal Tuohy; Patrick O'Connor, David McInerney, Jack Browne; Seadna Morey, Conor Cleary, Jamie Shanahan; Colm Galvin, David Fitzgerald; Peter Duggan (1-06, 0-06f), Tony Kelly (0-01), David Reidy; Podge Collins (0-01), John Conlon (0-01), Shane O'Donnell (1-01)

Subs: Ian Galvin (0-02) for Reidy (34), Cathal Malone for Fitzgerald (43), Rory Hayes for O'Connor (57, inj), Mikey O'Malley for Shanahan (60), Aron Shanagher (0-01) for Collins (63)

Referee Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)