Sweeney goal lifts Dublin to U-21 title
Gary Sweeney's second-half goal gave Dublin their second All-Ireland U-21 football title, and their first since 2003, at Breffni Park.
There was high drama in the closing stages as Young Football of the Year, Michael Murphy, smashed a stoppage-time penalty against the crossbar when presented with a match-winning opportunity.
But the Dubs deserved their hour of glory in front of a crowd of 8,492, the majority of them Donegal supporters.
Dublin's spirit of adventure served them well early on. They committed wing-backs John Cooper and Nicky Devereux forward, safe in the knowledge that Rory O'Carroll had the measure of Donegal full-forward Michael Murphy.
Points from Robert McCarthy, Dean Rock, Sweeney and Devereux had them ahead by 0-5 to 0-2, both of the Tir Chonail points coming from Dermot Molloy frees.
Donegal's short-passing game led them up many blind alleys, and by the 29th minute, they were still awaiting their first score from play, duly supplied by Molloy.
Then a change in tack, a more direct strategy, and the Dubs' defence was twice opened up in the closing stages of the half.
Murphy got in on goal but dragged his shot wide. But moments later, he made no mistake, taking Cillian Morrison's pass to blast to an empty net for an unlikely 1-4 to 0-6 interval lead.
The long-ball option was now the way to go for Jim McGuinness' men, and it led to points for Murphy and Morrison as they went two clear. But the Dubs went back in front with a well-crafted goal on 47 minutes, sub David Quinn slipping the ball inside for Gary Sweeney to apply a classy finish.
They appeared to have victory sealed until Morrison won a penalty deep into injury-time, but Murphy was denied by the woodwork.
Scorers -- Dublin: G Sweeney 1-1, D Rock 0-4, 2f, 1 '45), M Coughlan, R McCarthy, C Dorney, B O'Rourke, N Devereux 0-1 each. Donegal: M Murphy 1-2, 0-1f), D Molloy 0-5, 4f), C Morrison 0-1.
Dublin: V Whelan; E Culligan, R O'Carroll, D Nelson; J Cooper, J McCarthy, N Devereux; S Murray, C Mullins; M Coughlan, T Furman, G Sweeney; R McCarthy, D Rock, C Dorney. Subs: D Quinn for McCarthy (h-t), C Redddin for McCarthy (42), B O'Rourke for Furman (48), S McGuinness for Nelson (50), N Brogan for Dorney (73)
Donegal: P Boyle; E Doherty, C Boyle, P McGrath; D Walsh, T McKinley, C Classon; K Mulhern, D Curran; M McHugh, M Murphy, D Molloy; J Carroll, L McLoone, A McFadden. Subs: C Morrison for McFadden (28), D Murphy for McKinley (28), C McGinley for Carroll (63), S O'Kennedy for Curran (67)
Referee: M Duffy (Sligo).