DUBLIN 2-17 KERRY 0-11
A storming second half saw Dublin outclass Kerry by 12 points in Sunday's NFL Division 1 duel at Croke Park in front of an attendance of 24,026.
The Dubs now stand on the cusp of qualification for the top-flight league decider as they head to Salthill next weekend before they face Monaghan in Croker in their last regulation game.
However, the sight of Cian O'Sullivan being taken off with what looked a bad shoulder injury is a worrying concern as the Dubs are already without Jack McCaffrey for several more months.
Dublin led 1-8 to 0-8 despite a slow start but then hit the turbos to score 1-6 unanswered and but for spurning some second half goal chances could have prevailed by an even more convincing margin.
The Kingdom had the goal chances also, but let two opportunities go in the opening half when Paul Geaney hitting and upright and young Seán O'Shea, a minor All-Ireland winner in 2015 and '16, shanking wide from close range with Stephen Cluxton stranded and only Jonny Cooper on the line.
Kerry started well with David Clifford, a minor of the last two years, impressing early on and taking Cian O'Sullivan for two points form play as well as a free which he won himself.
The switch of Jonny Cooper onto Clifford helped Dublin but it was far more than that as Jim Gavin's men upped their tempo, movement and work-rate after a sluggish opening.
At midfield Brian Fenton and especially Michael Darragh Macauley took the game to Kerry and Dublin dictated the game for the most part bar the opening 20 minutes.
Dublin's first goal was a great example of their pace and power. A free from Clifford was brilliantly cut out by the impressive Cooper and eventual Dublin emerged a pace through David Byrne, the ball was taken on by Brian Fenton before Shane Carthy's point effort was parried upward with Niall Scully arriving to fist the ball to the net, much like he had done for his goal against Mayo.
Byrne performed the same lung-busting run in the second period also to become the link man for a second half point.
The second half was a different story as Dublin dominated the opening 20 minutes and overall, either side of half-time, it was almost 30 minutes between Kerry scores.
“Coming up to half-time, we tightened up on our passing which was a little bit loose in the first half,” said Dubs manager Jim Gavin.
“We tightened up in the second half and we got the performance as a result.”
Ciarán Kilkenny, who enjoyed a very productive afternoon, grabbed Dublin's second goal as they came raiding with intent again.
His initial attempt was saved by Shane Murphy but he scrambled the rebound home.
Dublin could have had more goals but both Dean Rock and Ciarán Reddin were denied by the same upright at the Davin End.
SCORERS – Dublin: C Kilkenny 1-3, D Rock 0-4 (0-3f), N Scully 1-1, P Andrews 0-3, C Basquel 0-2, C Costello, J Cooper, P McMahon, P Small 0-1 each. Kerry: D Clifford 0-4 (2f), K McCarthy, M Burns 0-2 each, S O’Shea, P Geaney, M Geaney 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: S Cluxton; D Byrne, J Cooper, C O’Sullivan; S Carthy, J Small, E Lowndes; B Fenton, MD Macauley; N Scully, C Basquel, B Howard; P Andrew, C Kilkenny, D Rock. Subs: P Small for Carthy (17), P McMahon for J Small (ht, black card), C Reddin for P Small (52, temporary), P Small for Rock (58), A McGowan for O’Sullivan (64 inj), C Costello for Kilkenny (68), E Ó Conghaile for Fenton (68).
KERRY: S Murphy; P Murphy, J Foley, R Shanahan; P Crowley, B Ó Beaglaoich, S Enright; J Barry, B O’Sullivan; M Burns, S O’Shea, A Spillane; D Clifford, P Geaney, K McCarthy. Subs: É Ó Conchúir for O’Sullivan (33, black card), M Geaney for O’Shea (ht, inj), BJ Keane for P Geaney (ht), F Fitzgerald for McCarthy (48), D Moran for Spillane (50), D Casey for Burns (64).
REF: C Branagan (Down).