By John Fogarty
Dublin 0-12 Kerry 0-9
Paul Flynn and Ciaran Kilkenny were to the fore in a deserving All-Ireland final victory for Dublin, their third in five seasons and second under Jim Gavin in three seasons.
In helping to beat Kerry for the third consecutive time in championship - and in doing so creating a piece of history - the pair gave guidance and purpose to their side in miserably wet conditions that were hardly conducive to good Gaelic football.
The fare was awful at times but in a way that will satisfy Dublin as they showed they had another way of winning in their armoury. Kieran Donaghy looked hard done by on a couple of occasions in the final quarter, particularly for a penalty call when Rory O'Carroll looked to have pulled him down, but anything but a Dublin win would have been hard to fathom.
They had chances to finish off Kerry early in the second half via Bernard Brogan and Brian Fenton goal attempts, the latter hitting the post. But the assuredness of Flynn, via a couple of points, and Kilkenny when in possession ensured they kept the scoreboard ticking over albeit slowly.
Darran O'Sullivan was an inspired half-time choice and he was a major contributor in Kerry chipping away at their half-time deficit, 0-8 to 0-4. His second point in the 51st minute cut the gap to two but then Flynn turned full-forward to curl one over. Killian Young fluffed a goal chance when set up by Donaghy in the 67th minute.
It was Dublin's last replacement Alan Brogan who fired over Dublin's insurance score in the 67th minute as Kerry fought in vain for a goal, Bryan Sheehan's converted free their only reply.
The only surprise each team offered up beforehand was that there were no surprises. Both teams lined out as per programme, Cian O'Sullivan and Denis Bastick beginning despite injury concerns, while there was an absence of a curveball from Eamonn Fitzmaurice.
In the early stages, it looked a mismatch in Dublin's favour as Philly McMahon took up Colm Cooper, the latter being dragged in areas unfamiliar to him. Dublin seized control with the first two scores of the game, Brian Fenton's point after 16 seconds followed by a Dean Rock free when Fitzgerald fouled Paddy Andrews. Brendan Kealy also had to be sharp to a goal-bound shot by Rock.
The sides were quickly level, James O'Donoghue's seventh minute point set up by Johnny Buckley followed seconds later by a Paul Geaney score, Buckley again involved in it. As Stephen Cluxton found his early restarts difficult because of Kerry's high press, O'Donoghue added his second in the 17th minute thanks to some sharp kick-passing from Buckley and Cooper.
Dublin's defence was so disciplined, certainly so than the Kerry back-line who coughed up another free converted by Rock when Aidan O'Mahony upended Jack McCaffrey. Another deadball ball score came from Cluxton in the 21st minute after Stephen O'Brien infringed on Rock.
Geaney levelled the game for a third time in the 26th minute but the remainder of the half was all Dublin. Brogan's 28th minute point was followed by McCaffrey, Andrews and McMahon efforts as Kerry looked too ponderous going forward and so frigid when it came to devoting players to their attacks.
The Dublin homecoming with Sam Maguire will take place tomorrow at 7.15pm on O'Connell Street on a stage erected to the south of the Spire. Public access will be via O'Connell Street Lower (from O'Connell Bridge), from the west via Middle Abbey Street and from the east via Lower Abbey Street.
Scorers for Dublin: B Brogan (1 free), P Flynn, D Rock (frees) (0-2 each); B Fenton, S Cluxton (free), J McCaffrey, P Andrews, P McMahon, A Brogan (0-1 each)
Scorers for Kerry: J O'Donoghue (0-3); P Geaney, D O'Sullivan (0-2 each); J Lyne, B Sheehan (free) (0-1 each).
Subs for Dublin: K McManamon for D Rock (h-t); MD Macauley for D Bastick (40); J Cooper for M Fitzsimons (inj 49); J Small for J McCaffrey (53); D Daly for C O'Sullivan (61); A Brogan for B Fenton (67).
Subs for Kerry: D O'Sullivan for S O'Brien (h-t); B Sheehan for J Buckley (44); K Donaghy for P Geaney (50); P Galvin for D Moran (57); P Murphy for A O'Mahony (black, 58); BJ Keane for J O'Donoghue (61).
DUBLIN: S Cluxton; J Cooper, R O'Carroll, P McMahon; J McCarthy, C O'Sullivan, J McCaffrey; B Fenton, D Bastick; P Flynn, D Connolly, C Kilkenny; B Brogan, D Rock, P Andrews.
KERRY: B Kealy; F Fitzgerald, A O'Mahony, S Enright; J Lyne, P Crowley, K Young; A Maher, D Moran; D Walsh, J Buckley, S O'Brien; C Cooper, P Geaney, J O'Donoghue.
Referee: D Coldrick (Kerry)