It was a case of third time unlucky for Galway who exited the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship for a third season on the trot at the semi-final stage.
It was another heartbreaking result for the Galway women who lost by 1-10 to 1-7, after a low-scoring first half in which defences held sway.
Galway began well with a free by last year’s minor star Carrie Dolan, and they could have scored a couple more as Niamh Kilkenny, Ailish O’Reilly and Dolan continued to threaten.
Kilkenny, however, wrested control for 15 minutes and were unlucky not to bag a couple of goals - one from an overhit pass which Sarah Healy cleared for Galway, before Galway captain Sarah Dervan produced an outstanding block to deny Michelle Quilty a certain goal.
But two pointed frees from Gaule put Kilkenny ahead and Quilty capitalised on a loose clearance to stretch the lead, before Kilkenny found the target and Dolan equalised with a free.
Kilkenny kept their noses in front when Anna Farrell drew the cover before batting the ball back over her head for Katie Power to find the target, and when Farrell provided the assist also for Julieanne Malone, the Cats led 0-6 to 0-4 at half-time.
The match remained tight after the resumption - the sides level within eight minutes when Dolan converted a couple of placed balls.
Galway enjoyed a period on top, and took the lead when Dolan again landed a free, this time from wide and outside the 45.
It was short-lived, however, as Malone equalised and then started the move for the goal that proved the difference between the sides. Davina Tobin and Shelly Farrell were also involved before Katie Power gave Healy no chance with a hand pass to the net.
Galway brought on Siobhán McGrath and Niamh Hannify, with the latter sporting a very heavy strapping on the knee injury that kept her out of the quarter-final, while Kilkenny introduced Walsh.
Galway continued to battle, led by O’Reilly, and when Rebecca Hennelly drilled a penalty to the net in the fifth minute of injury time, there was a glimmer of hope. However Gaule ruined Galway's party when halting Galway's last attack to see her side, the current League champions, prevail.
Galway scorers: C Dolan 0-5(fs ); R Hennelly 1-0 (pen ); N Kilkenny, A O’Reilly 0-1 each.
KILKENNY: E Kavanagh, C Dormer, C Foley, E Keane, C Phelan, A Dalton, D Tobin, D Gaule, M Farrell, S Farrell, K Power, J Malone, E Keane, A Farrell, M Quilty. Subs: M Walsh for Quilty (50 ).
GALWAY: Sarah Healy, Shauna Healy, S Dervan, T Kenny, R Black, H Cooney, L Ryan, A M Starr, N Kilkenny, A Donohue, C Cormican, N McGrath, C Dolan, A O’Reilly, N Coen. Subs: S McGrath for Coen (42 ), R Hennelly for Starr (49 ), N Hanniffy for Dolan (51 ), O McGrath for Black (60 ), C Walsh for Shauna Healy (60 ).
REFEREE: R Kelly (Kildare )