Kerry manager William O’Sullivan stepped down from his position after this defeat.
McGonigle was fearful his side were still scarred by the manner of their defeat to Cork last season, when they let a nine-point lead slip.
But goals in either half, from Niamh McEvoy and Noelle Healy, ensured that the capital side easily advanced to the last four and a meeting with Galway.
“Cork came back at them last year and they lost, so mentally that was maybe more the challenge than the football end of it. It’s great to have a youngster like Carla Rowe in his first year in inter-county football coming in and kicking two points from play, which settled the team. We’ve set the girls targets on how they work and apply themselves during the game and obviously we can now analyse the DVD and look at the points we can correct.”
McGonigle prepared his players to face a defensive setup after watching Kerry in their qualifier win over Donegal, and admits they would have liked a sterner test in the Leinster championship coming into the clash.
He said: “Obviously against Kerry we didn’t expect anything less. We had a long layoff after the Leinster final and we probably hadn’t been tested as much as we would have liked in the Leinster championship.
“At the time you don’t mind that but for your own preparation ... Kerry were obviously Munster champions in 2013 and All-Ireland finalists in 2012 and won Division 2 last year.
“We’d be disappointed with some of our finishing because we watched Kerry against Donegal and we knew it was going to be defensive.
“We worked on that in training but training can be training but it’s actually on championship day so it took a while to get settled. When we were running at them Kerry were finding it hard.
“Kerry hadn’t lost at the quarter-final stage up until today, so that just showed that effort we had to put in from our point of view, so we are just delighted to get across the line.”
In the opening half, Dublin quickly went three points to the good when Sinead Aherne popped over three frees as Gregory McGonigle’s charges looked to break down Kerry’s blanket defence.
The Kingdom finally got off the mark when Sarah Houlihan pointed from a placed ball but the Dubs responded by going 0-6 to 0-1 ahead with two more Aherne frees and a point from Lindsay Peat. Things went from bad to worse for Kerry when a quick free from Lyndsay Davey was collected by Aherne, and she fed the running Niamh McEvoy who coolly lobbed into the net past Edel Murphy.
Emma Sherwood finally got Kerry’s opening score from play as Houlihan added a free, but Dublin ace Aherne stretched her tally to eight points for the half, making no mistake with two more frees and a decent score from play, to give her side a 1-9 to 0-3 interval lead.
Patrice Dennehy, Lorraine Scanlon and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh had Kerry points on the restart but the good work was undone when Noelle Healy slammed home a fine individual goal.
At the other end, Louise Galvin hit the post for the Kingdom as Deirdre Corridan pointed the rebound, as Dublin kept ticking over, with Lyndsey Davey and Carla Rowe pointing.
Kerry had no option but to change tactics with Dennehy and Ní Mhuircheartaigh points keeping Dublin on their toes, but time was running out as Carla Rowe scored Dublin’s final point of the match.
Kerry forced a goal late on when Deirdre Corridan’s long-range free went all the way into the net, but it was all too late for the Kingdom.
DUBLIN: C O’Connor; R Ruddy, S Furlong, L Caffrey; M Byrne, S Goldrick, S McGrath; D Masterson, M Lamb; N Healy (1-0), N McEvoy (1-0), C Rowe (0-2); L Davey (0-1), S Aherne (0-8, 7f), L Peat (0-1).
Subs: S Woods for McEvoy 50mins; N Hyland for Peat 52mins; O Leonard for Lamb 54mins; L Collins for Aherne 60mins.
KERRY: E Murphy; A Lyons, A Desmond, A Leonard; C Kelly, C Lynch, D Hallissey; E Sherwood (0-1), B Breen; M Quirke, L Galvin, G Crowley; L Ni Mhuircheartaigh (0-2), S Houlihan (0-2, 2f), P Dennehy (0-3, 1f).
Subs: L Scanlon (0-1) for Quirke 26mins; L Rogers for Crowley 45mins; D Corridan (1-1) for Leonard 45mins; M O’Connell for Galvin 50mins.
Referee: J Niland (Sligo).