Hull, without a win in six league matches, were trailing to Barnsley winger Adam Hammill's stunning first-half strike when Kilbane lashed home a low shot from inside the penalty area in the 72nd minute to snatch a draw.
Tigers substitute Caleb Folan lobbed a second-half effort on to the crossbar, while Barnsley were denied by Hull goalkeeper Matt Duke in the closing seconds and felt they should have been awarded a late penalty when defender Andy Dawson appeared to have hauled down Jim O'Brien in the area.
Hull striker Rowan Vine was first to show when he blazed a long-range effort over the crossbar in the fourth minute, while at the other end Paul Hayes, making his first appearance after returning on loan for a second spell at Barnsley, failed to keep his volley down.
Hayes, who replaced Chris Wood in the starting line-up, then headed Hammill's corner wide and O'Brien, also back in the side, forced Hull goalkeeper Matt Duke to hold his shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Hull responded through player/coach Nick Barmby, who headed Liam Rosenior's cross over the bar, but the home side took a deserved lead in the 24th minute when Hammill unleashed a 30-yard thunderbolt which flew into the top corner.
Barmby was forced off injured in the 29th minute and replaced by Mark Cullen and Barnsley went in search of a second goal.
Hayes' effort from the edge of the penalty area was blocked by Dawson and just before the break Hammill forced Duke into a fine full-length save with another blistering 30-yard effort.
Hull boss Nigel Pearson sent out John Bostock and Caleb Folan in place of Vine and Jamie Devitt for the second half, but the home side twice went close through Hammill again and Nathan Doyle before Hull began to exert more influence on the game.
Hull defender Kamil Zayatte curled a 25-yard effort over and then Folan's lob hit the crossbar, while Bobby Hassell blasted a volley off target.
The Tigers were back on level terms in the 72nd minute. The ball was played in to the far post and when it bounced off Stephen Foster's head to Kilbane 12 yards out, the Republic of Ireland international buried a low shot beyond unsighted Barnsley goalkeeper Luke Steele through a crowd of players.
Hayes went close with two more shots soon after and Barnsley were left incensed when referee Andy D'Urso failed to award them a penalty in the 82nd minute after Dawson appeared to have brought down O'Brien in the area.
Dawson and Duke almost contrived to gift Barnsley a farcical winner in the 90th minute when the former headed a bouncing ball up and on to his crossbar following Hayes' effort.
Duke pulled off a fingertip save to deny Hammill the winner in time added on after the winger's fine run into the box.