Dublin claimed their first All Ireland since 1995 as 16 years of hurt came to a end in dramatic fashion with Stephen Cluxton’s injury time free ensuring the Sam Maguire didn’t have far to travel to its new home for the next 12 month.
In fairness there wasn’t much between the sides throughout however with 7 minutes to go Jack O’Connor’s side looked in control, Colm Cooper’s point putting four points between the sides.
Kerry looked to be in control however instead it was Dublin that pushed on and finished the stronger.
Pat Gilory’s men needed a goal to get back in it and they found it through an unlikely source when Kevin McManamon benefitted from a quick Dublin free to shoot beyond Brendan Kealy in the Kerry goal.
A minute late Kevin Nolan, with his first ever Championship point, dragged the Dub’s level with a wonderful effort and Bernard Brogan, who finished the game with 6 points, put Dublin ahead with just a minute to go on the clock.
However if Dublin thought they were home and dry they discounted this Kerry team and the Kingdom equalised with a sublime effort from Keiran Donaghy. Again however Kerry failed to press home to the Psychological advantage and instead it was left to Cluxton to seal a famous win.
Kerry made the early running as they unsettled an already nervous looking Dublin, Declan O’Sullivan punching over a point on two minutes however that was the end of the scoring for 10 minutes before the men in blue settled with a brace from Alan Brogan to go 02-01 ahead.
The lead was short lived however as just 7 minutes later Kerry had the first goal of the afternoon, Darren O’Sullivan making a beautiful run from midfielder before feeding the ball to Cooper who finished with aplomb past Cluxton.
Brogan reduced the lead to a point with a free on 22 minutes as Dublin refused to let the Green and Gold run away from them.
The strength in dept available to Kerry was apparent on 24 minutes when O’Connor took off Kevin O’Leary for Paul Galvin.
However Galvin first action was to look on and thank his keeper Kealy for making a fantastic save from Brogan who looked odds on to score after good build up play by his brother Bernard.
The game was ebbing and flowing with neither side able to take a foot hold and it was no surprise when Dublin drew level, Cluxton getting his 11th point of the championship with a free from distance, Brogan then putting Dublin ahead with half time looming.
Brogan got another point to put the Dubs in control however that man Galvin reduced the lead to one as the sides headed into the half time whistle.
The second half continued in the same vein with both sides dominating in patches, Brogan and Denis Bastick putting Dublin three ahead before Kerry responded with efforts from Donaghy, Sheehan and Cooper levelling matters.
Sheehan with a brace either side of a brogan effort put Kerry ahead as Dublin’s nerves saw them give away a number of silly frees and those nerves showed no signs of abating as Sheehan and Cooper both benefitted from Dublin fouls to put the Kingdom three ahead.
Cooper then made it four before a rousing end from Dublin saw claim their 23rd All Ireland win.