Showing a lot of character in the second half, they appeared to have salvaged a draw after substitute Katie Kenneally levelled with a well-worked point. But, the John O'Leary-managed Dublin snatched a dramatic victory with a late goal from midfielder Fiona Corcoran.
On the day, a youthful Kerry depended greatly on the scoring power of Kacey O'Driscoll who contributed 3-1 of their total and Geraldine O'Shea. The latter also played impressively throughout, but after getting 3-4 against Monaghan was confined to three points. Afterwards, O'Leary agreed that it had been a definite priority to curtail these two players in particular.
"We knew what they were capable of. We had to mark them very tightly and be disciplined in our tackling," he commented.
"Our backs won it for us in the second half and our forwards in the first half."
An emotional Kerry manager Robert Griffin was shattered by the outcome.
"This is what we have been working towards over the last two years. We were up against a more experienced and physically stronger team, but the girls were a credit to the county and they jersey."
Kerry were slow to start, but led through Kacey O'Driscoll's first goal in the 12th minute. However, once Dublin settled down, they showed themselves to be a better balanced team, gaining good possession around midfield and an early edge at half-forward. With some terrific finishing, they kicked seven points in a row, punctuated by O'Driscoll's second goal, to lead 0-11 to 2-1 at the break.
Resuming in determined mood and backed by the wind, Kerry went back in front when O'Driscoll again hit the net after nine minutes. Perfectly taken, it was the result of a skilfully kicked through ball from the hard-working O'Shea.
But, the benefit of that score was lost when Dublin centre-forward Bernie Finley got in for their first goal immediately afterwards. In time, it would prove vital.
The last quarter of what was an outstanding contest produced the game's most competitive phase. Kerry drew level through Kacey O'Driscoll, fell behind briefly to Mary Nevin's sixth point for Dublin but regained hope after Katie Kenneally kicked over.
Then Fiona Corcoran produced a stunning goal to break the deadlock. O'Driscoll did her best to save the game with a determined run down the left flank in the last minute but under pressure lost possession.
Scorers: Dublin M. Nevin 0-6 (0-2 frees); F. Corcoran and B. Finlay 1-0 each; A. McNally 0-3; E. Kelly and A. McNally 0-2 each; L. Davey 0-1.
Kerry: K. O'Driscoll 3-1; G. O'Shea 0-3 (0-1 free); D. Corridan, K. Kennedy, P. Dennehy and N. Fealey 0-1.
DUBLIN: C. O'Connor; S. Farrelly, N. Comyn, M. Kavanagh; N. McEvoy, L. Keegan, G. Fay; M. Farrell (capt.), F. Corcoran; E. Kelly, B. Finlay, L. Davey. Subs: L. Kelly for E. Kelly (51st minute); N. Hurley for Fay (53rd); K. Hopkins for Farrell (57th); O. Colready for McCormack (60th).
KERRY: A. O'Donoghue; G. O'Malley, G. Ni Flatharta, J. Murnane; K. Gleeson, C. Kelly, R. Ni Chinneide; E. O'Connell, S. O'Connor (capt.); S. Delaney, P. Dennehy, J. Murphy; K. O'Driscoll, G. O'Shea, N. Fealey. Subs: K. Kenneally for O'Malley (26th minute); D. Corridan for Delaney (second half).
Referee: E. O'Hare (Down).