THIS game turned inside 25 blistering seconds.
Retreating to inside his own parallelogram, Dublin full-back David Byrne got a hand to intercept what would have been a certain Kerry goal, with Dessie Farrell's side then sweeping up the field to point through Shane Cunningham and a Kerry comeback that had been gathering momentum was quelled.
A goal for the Kingdom at that crucial stage would have put them into the lead for the first time in the match with just eight minutes to go.
However, Cunningham's point restored their three-point advantage and the Dubs never looked back from there, winning by a margin that, based on the second half, flattered them a little.
Cunningham's score ended a nervous patch for the Dubs that had seen them hit just three points in the opening 20 minutes of the second half.
Kerry, led by the superb Ronan Murphy at centre-back, had started to find their groove and had pulled to within two points after an intricate move that involved Murphy, Jack Barry and a clever flick from Kieran Murphy finally opened up a previously miserly Dublin defence.
Cillian Fitzgerald, a cousin of Kieran Donaghy, lashed to the net and Kerry suddenly found themselves within touching distance of a Dublin team that should have been further ahead.
"It was a great interception and it's moments like that on which matches are won and lost, so we'd be thankful for Davy in that situation," Farrell said of the game's pivotal moment.
"He's our captain and we expect that from him.
"I was worried (at that stage), you never know with young men of this age what is going on in their heads."
Dublin justified their 'favourites' status for the Tom Markham Cup in the opening period. Cormac Costello had opened his account with a point after just 36 seconds and before three minutes were up, the impressive Conor McHugh raised the first green flag of the game.
Dublin had 1-4 on the board before Kerry responded with three quick-fire points, including a Niall Sheehy beauty, but Costello resumed normal service with a superb individual goal.
The Whitehall youngster didn't quite hit the heights of the Leinster final when he bagged a hat-trick, but his goal was something special.
He picked up the ball under the Hogan Stand and skinned his marker along the end line before rolling the ball under the advancing Gavin O Currain that helped the Dubs take a 2-6 to 0-5 lead into the break.
On the resumption, Kerry got on top, but Byrne and midfielder Shane Carthy did great work to stem the tide and, crucially, to ensure Dublin never relinquished their lead.
Ronan Murphy landed probably the point of the game with a superb left-footed strike from the outside of his boot in Kerry's spirited revival, but once their goal chance went abegging, Dublin stretched off into the distance with sub David Campbell slapping their final goal to the net in the final minutes.
While Kerry boss Mickey Ned O'Sullivan was disappointed, he expressed satisfaction with the progress of his side who lost twice to Tipperary in Munster before reviving their season through the back door.
"Minor football is an apprenticeship," he said. "In inter-county football, it's about buying into the lifestyle, the discipline, the commitment -- everything that is involved in inter-county football.
"This was their first taste of it. If they like it, they'll go on, hopefully stick with it, and play at the highest level as long as possible. This year we've got them to September. Next year, hopefully, we'll get them to the end of September."
Dublin progressed to set up a first All-Ireland final with a Meath team they hammered in the Leinster final but, after the bitter experience of losing last year's decider, Farrell insisted complacency won't be an issue.
"It is difficult that, having beaten a team, we have to play them again.
"History tells us that, but we just have to deal with it. We have been favourites all summer and I'm sure the All-Ireland final will be no different.
"I think our players realise that in the Leinster final we caught Meath on an off day.
"We played them in the Leinster league final and I think we won by two points -- I think that's a better reflection of the Meath team and we'll prepare accordingly."
SCORERS -- Dublin: C Costello 1-3 (1f), C McHugh 1-2 (1f), D Campbell 1-0, S Carthy (0-1 '45), N Scully 0-2 each, M MacDonncha, G Burke, Shane Cunningham 0-1 each. Kerry: J Savage 0-3 (3f), N Sheehy 0-2 (0-1f), C Fitzgerald 1-0, C Keane 0-2, D Daly, R Murphy, D Foran 0-1 each.
Dublin -- L Molloy; E Mullan, D Byrne, R McGowan; E Lowndes, C Mulally, M MacDonncha; Stephen Cunningham, S Carthy; N Walsh, G Burke, R Gaughan; C Costello, C McHugh, N Scully Subs: S Cunningham for Gaughan (43), D Gormley for Walsh (47), M Deegan for Burke (59), D Campbell for N Scully (53).
Kerry -- G O Currain; C O Luing, G Crowley, P O'Connor; B Crowley, R Murphy, G Horan; K Murphy, J Barry; D Foran, J Savage, C Fitzgerald; E O Conchuir, N Sheehy, C Keane Subs: D Daly for O Conchuir (27), S Maloney for Sheehy (47), G O'Sullivan for K Murphy (48), G O'Shea for Foran (58), E Doyle for Barry (59).
Ref -- F Kelly (Longford)