Adrian Mullen starred for Kilkenny as they ground out a five-point win over Galway to seal a Leinster SHC three-in-a-row.

The Ballyhale Shamrocks forward hit 0-04 from play in a classy display to deny his clubmate Henry Shefflin a maiden title at inter-county level.

Outside of inside forward Conor Whelan, Galway produced a disappointing performance and will be left to rue a raft of missed goalscoring chances.

TJ Reid hit 12 placed balls as the Tribe's persistent fouling was punished throughout, with his side now guaranteed a spot in an All-Ireland SHC semi-final.

After the handshake drama between Brian Cody and Shefflin at the end of the Salthill clash recently, it was the latter who eventually approached the old master several minutes after the full-time whistle; although it did look decidedly frosty.

Kilkenny played with the wind in the first half and forged a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after eight minutes.

Richie Leahy, Paddy Deegan and Mullen scored from play — with the latter pair making use of the elements from distance — while Reid added a free.

Before that, Whelan cut a beautiful ball over from the sideline for Galway’s opener, and it wasn’t until the tenth minute that Conor Cooney struck another through a free.

Between that, the Tribe had two goal chances which both produced fine saves from goalkeeper Eoin Murphy.

Galway's Conor Whelan and Huw Lawlor of Kilkenny get in a tangle

Joseph Cooney went close when kicking in chance number one, while Murphy brilliantly smothered Brian Concannon just after that on eight minutes.

Mullen, Billy Ryan, and Deegan then helped the Cats steady down as they pushed 0-8 to 0-4 ahead by 16 minutes, before Eanna Murphy denied Eoin Cody from close range.

Conor Cooney kept the scoreboard moving for Galway but they were fortunate to not see a red card for Cianan Fahy after a stamp on Richie Reid’s arm.

The Ardrahan man then struck a brilliant point to bring the Tribe back to within one, before two Reid frees and a Martin Keoghan turnover score gave Kilkenny an 0-11 to 0-7 lead.

Fahy and Whelan had further half goal chances but Kilkenny survived to lead 0-11 to 0-9 at the interval.

Three Reid frees were all the back-to-back Leinster champions had to show for the first ten minutes after the break, during which time Whelan knocked over two and had another goal chance blocked.

Conor Cooney had a shot hooked and hit three wides in a row, while Fahy and Joseph Cooney also missed chances as Galway could never quite get in front.

Mullen was the scorer-in-chief for the Cats who otherwise relied on the peerless free-taking of Reid throughout the half.

Martin Keoghan and Mullen were both hooked for goal chances in minutes 52 and 64 respectively, on a day when finding the net proved elusive.

Reid clipped over a '65 and a free to push Kilkenny five clear heading into the last five minutes, while Cooney and Padraic Mannion frees made it a one-score game in injury time.

From there, Mullen and substitute Padraig Walsh both raised white flags, as the black and amber ribbons were draped around the Bob O’Keeffe Cup.

Kilkenny: Eoin Murphy; Mikey Butler, Huw Lawlor, Tommy Walsh; Mikey Carey, Richie Reid, Paddy Deegan (0-2); Conor Fogarty, Adrian Mullen (0-4); Billy Ryan (0-1), TJ Reid (0-12; 0-11f, 0-1 ‘65), Richie Leahy (0-1); Cian Kenny, Martin Keoghan (0-1), Eoin Cody

Subs: Walter Walsh for Ryan (temp 28-30); Conor Delaney for Butler (temp 29-35); Conor Browne for Kenny (HT); Walter Walsh for Leahy (45); Padraig Walsh (0-1) for Ryan (54); John Donnelly for Keoghan (60)

Galway: Eanna Murphy; Jack Grealish, Daithi Burke, Darren Morrissey; Padraic Mannion (0-1f), Gearoid McInerney, Fintan Burke (0-1); Joseph Cooney, Johnny Coen; Tom Monaghan, Conor Cooney (0-9; 0-6f, 0-1 ‘65, 0-1 s/l), Cathal Mannion; Conor Whelan (0-4), Cianan Fahy (0-2), Brian Concannon

Subs: Jason Flynn for Monaghan (44); Ronan Glennon for Fahy (54); David Burke for Coen (60); Gavin Lee for Concannon (70);

Referee: James Owens (Wexford)