Dublin 2-14 Kildare 0-17
By Paul Keane
Senior panellist Con O'Callaghan starred again for Dublin with 1-7 but Cillian O'Shea was the game breaker in Navan with a vital late goal to secure a three-in-a-row of EirGrid Leinster U-21 football titles.
Dessie Farrell's underdogs trailed by seven early on but fought back to secure extra-time and O'Shea's 69th minute goal was what ultimately stood between the teams at Pairc Tailteann.
It was tough on Kildare who had their own star man in Neil Flynn who, for the second year running, reached double figures in a Leinster final against Dublin, kicking 0-10, but just like last year he ended up on the losing side.
The Lilies, who beat Dublin in the minor championship three years ago, initially strode into a 0-9 to 0-2 lead after 27 minutes and put on an exhibition of point taking in that period with Ben McCormack central to the onslaught.
He kicked five points, the first from his left foot and the rest off his right as he attacked Dublin's defence with pace and purpose.
Flynn was excellent too, slipping his man out on the left wing at one stage before blasting over an eye catching score from 30 metres out.
Dublin looked nervous and O'Callaghan, their only senior panellist, who kicked 1-12 in total against Laois and Meath, wasted two good chances from early frees.
But the Cuala star made up for it with a timely goal in the 27th minute that turned the game on its head. The close range snipe left just four in it and Dublin reduced that deficit to two at the break, 0-10 to 1-5.
Kildare 'keeper Declan Campbell pulled off two fine saves, one from Colm Basquel who was a late addition to the Dublin line-up. Basquel scored 1-3 in the semi-final win over Laois just two days after helping Ballyboden St Enda's to the AIB All-Ireland club title.
Dublin were finally back level two minutes into the second-half following points from joint-captain Andrew Foley and O'Callaghan, 1-7 to 0-10.
Dublin took the lead for the first time in the 49th minute when Glenn O'Reilly hit his second point of the game but it was clear it would go right down to the wire.
The sides were level three times in the second-half and Flynn tied it up for the third time in the 54th minute with a converted 45. Kildare went closest to winning it in normal time but sub Mark Sherry dragged a 64th minute kick just wide of the upright, forcing extra-time at 1-11 to 0-14.
Bryan Murphy's Kildare were left to rue that miss as they were outscored by 1-3 to 0-3 in the additional 20 minutes.
Scorers for Dublin: Con O'Callaghan 1-7 (0-5f), Cillian O'Shea 1-0, Glenn O'Reilly 0-2, Colm Basquel 0-1, Chris Sallier 0-1, Andrew Foley 0-1, Brian Howard 0-1, Martin Cahilan 0-1.
Scorers for Kildare: Neil Flynn 0-10 (0-3f, 0-3 45), Ben McCormack 0-5, Paschal Connell 0-1, Chris Healy 0-1
Dublin: Lorcan Molloy; Eoin Smith, Sean McMahon, Declan Monaghan; Cillian O'Shea, Brian Howard, Martin Cahilan; Andrew Foley, Donal McIlgorm; Killian Deeley, Colm Basquel, Glenn O'Reilly; Chris Sallier, Con O'Callaghan, Darragh Spillane.
Subs: Shane Clayton for O'Shea (5), Aaron Elliot for McIlgorm (15), Kieran Doherty for Foley (29-33, blood), Eoin Murchan for Monaghan (h/t), Paddy Small for Spillane (h/t), Michael Deegan for Elliot (47). O'Shea for Sallier (e/t), Doherty for O'Reilly (68), Spillane for Murchan (76), T O'Sullivan for Smith (79).
Kildare: Declan Campbell; Paul Mescal, Darren Maguire, Eoghan Bateman; Ryan Houlihan, Shea Ryan, Brian Byrne; Luke Flynn, Paschal Connell; Con Kavanagh, Cein McMonagle, Conor Hartley; Ben McCormack, Chris Healy, Neil Flynn.
Subs: Mark Hyland for Byrne (30), Rory Feely for Hartly (38), Mark Sherry for McMonagle (43), Cian Scanlon for Healy (54). Barry Kelly for Scanlan (e/t), Scanlan for McCormack (68), Dara Malone for Maguire (76), Healy for Feely (79).
Referee: John Hickey (Carlow).