Glory and immortality for Dublin as their thundering second-half display brought Kerry to their knees and bent Gaelic football to their will to claim the previously elusive five-in-a-row.
From the get-go after the break when Eoin Murchan collected a David Moran throw-in punch to slalom his way all the way to the other end for the only goal of the game, Dublin were the better team.
Dublin had passengers in the first half which finished 0-10 apiece but so many of them were reborn thereafter and while Kerry did cut the gap to a point in the 45th minute they again failed to score for the final 12 minutes of football.
With the margin three points, Stephen Cluxton saved from Stephen O’Brien in the 54th minute when a goal looked a low percentage attempt. Dublin dementedly hunted down Kerry and they were reduced to two scores for the remainder of the game, a David Clifford free won by Tommy Walsh and a Seán O’Shea point that was scored under incredible duress.
Points from Niall Scully and James McCarthy eased Dublin into a five-point advantage and they could have been further ahead but for some sloppy play from substitute Diarmuid Connolly, who replaced Jack McCaffrey at the break.
Dean Rock, for so long quiet, thumped over a 69th minute point and while Connolly had better options for a coup de grace goal Rock fired over a 45 to put the contest beyond doubt as if it needed it.
Both teams had elected to make one late change, Murchan, a used substitute the last day, coming in for Michael Darragh Macauley, while Gavin White was replaced by Diarmuid O’Connor having not been utilised in the drawn game.
Bernard Brogan and Eric Lowndes were the two changes to the Dublin squad from the drawn game, Darren Daly and Peadar Ó Cofaigh-Byrne losing out. James O’Donoghue was brought into the Kerry panel at the expense of Graham O’Sullivan.
O’Connor was clearly introduced to add to the bank across the middle of the field for kick-outs but then he was doing well on McCaffrey’s side of the field too. However, where one bucket was put under McCaffrey another was created by Ciarán Kilkenny and Kerry had little answer to him as he helped himself to four first-half points.
Unlike most of their key games this Championship, Dublin were the better team in the initial stages and their accuracy was a thing of beauty - by the end of the half they had registered no wides and had just kicked just three short into Shane Ryan’s hands.
Con O’Callaghan was as industrious and menacing as ever and Paul Mannion too helped himself to a couple of early points as he did in the drawn match. Dublin led by as much as four points as Kerry tried their luck with three long balls into their full-forwards but they came to little.
A questionable decision not to award Kilkenny a 14th minute free allowed Kerry to break and Clifford sent over the first of his three in that half. Dublin did fire back with two from play but Kerry retaliated stronger with three on the bounce, two of them from Clifford who was clearly enjoying himself.
Kerry were finding their feet with excellent turnovers, O’Brien and Brian Ó Beaglaoich providing a couple of them, and were within one point of Dublin in the 22nd minute.
After a dazzling solo, Paul Geaney, who earlier had the only stand-out chance in the game when he blazed over, levelled the game at the break in additional time. It followed a Seán O’Shea free after Conor Lane strangely booked Michael Fitzsimons for a foul on O’Brien when it appeared O’Callaghan had made the transgression. At the other end, Tom O’Sullivan was lucky not to be whistled for an obvious free on O’Callaghan.
C. Kilkenny (0-5); P. Mannion (0-4); C. O’Callaghan (0-3); E. Murchan (1-0); D. Rock (0-3, 1 45); D. Byrne, N. Scully, J. McCarthy (0-1 each).
D. Clifford (0-5, 1 free); S. O’Shea (0-5, 3 frees); P. Geaney (0-4); A. Spillane (0-1 each).
S. Cluxton (c); D. Byrne, M. Fitzsimons; J. Cooper, E. Murchan, J. Small, J. McCaffrey; B. Fenton, J. McCarthy; N. Scully, C. Kilkenny, B. Howard; P. Mannion, C. O’Callaghan, D. Rock.
D. Connolly for J. McCaffrey (inj, h-t); P. McMahon for E. Murchan (inj 57); C. Costello for N. Scully (58); C. O’Sullivan for D. Byrne (68); K. McManamon for P. Mannion (68); M.D. Macauley for B. Howard (70+4).
S. Ryan; J. Foley, T. O’Sullivan, T. Morley; G. Crowley, P. Murphy (c), B. Ó Beaglaoich; D. Moran, J Barry, A. Spillane; D. O’Connor, S. O’Shea, S. O’Brien; D. Clifford, P. Geaney.
G. White for A. Spillane, J. Sherwood for B. Ó Beaglaoich (52); T. Walsh for D. O’Connor (56); K. Spillane for P. Murphy (inj 60); J. O’Donoghue for J. Barry (65); D. Moynihan for G. Crowley (70+2);
C. Lane (Cork).