THERE WERE GOALS galore in Croke Park today as Dublin scored 2-2 in the last five minutes to beat Kerry and book their place in the All-Ireland football final.
Dublin started the game the better of the two sides with Michael Darragh MacAuley unlucky not to raise the green flag as he burst through the Kerry defence with their first attack but had to settle for a point as his shot went just over.
The blues crept into a two point lead and looked well on top until a moment of Colm Cooper brilliance unlocked the Dublin defence and James O’Donoghue showed great composure to slot the ball home past Stephen Cluxton.
Kerry had their second goal of the game on 12 minutes and once again Cooper proved key. His pass set up Donnchadh Walsh and his cool finish made it 2-2 to 0-3.
However, Dublin hit back almost immediately when Paul Mannion reacted quickest to an attempted point that was dropping short to fist into the Kerry net from close range. They then tacked on a further three points to retake the lead on 17 minutes, before Cooper steadied the ship for the Kingdom with a point.
Kerry had their third goal just a minute later when Cluxton hauled down Donnchadh Walsh before James O’Donoghue slotted home from the penalty spot and Kerry went in at half time with a 3-5 to 1-9 lead.
Kerry took a four point lead early in the second half but, with Dean Rock now on the pitch, Dublin led for the first time since the 17th minute after five unanswered points gave them a 1-15 to 3-8 lead on 51 minutes.
The sides swapped points over the next ten minutes before a Darren O’Sullivan score gave the Kingdom their last lead of the game on 62 minutes.
Dublin responded by bringing on Kevin McManamon – who scored the crucial goal for Dublin in their All-Ireland final win over Kerry two years ago – and history repeated itself when McManamon slotted home brilliantly in the 70th minute to give Dublin a 2-18-3-11 lead.
Diarmuid Connolly made it a four point game on the stroke of full time, before Eoghan O’Gara scored Dublin’s third goal with the last kick of the game.
The seven point win will give Jim Gavin’s men great belief ahead of their final date with Mayo.
Scorers for Dublin: B Brogan 0-6 (2f), D Connolly 0-4 (1f), P Mannion, K McManamon, E O’Gara all 1-0, D Rock 0-2, MacAuley, O’Sullivan, Kilkenny, Cluxton (1f), Andrews, McMahon all 0-1.
Scorers for Kerry: J O’Donoghue 2-3, Cooper 0-4 (2f), D Walsh 1-0, P Galvin 0-2, Declan O’Sullivan, Darran O’Sullivan all 0-1.
Dublin: Stephen Cluxton (c); Kevin O’Brien, Rory O’Carroll, Jonny Cooper; James McCarthy, Ger Brennan, Jack McCaffrey; Michael Darragh MacAuley, Cian O’Sullivan; Paul Flynn, Ciaran Kilkenny, Diarmuid Connolly; Paul Mannion, Paddy Andrews, Bernard Brogan.
Substitutes: Philip McMahon for K O’Brien (22), Denis Bastick for G Brennan (HT), Dean Rock for C Kilkenny (42), Eoghan O’Gara for P Mannion (60), Kevin McManamon for B Brogan (64).
Kerry: Brendan Kealy; Marc Ó Sé, Mark Griffin, Shane Enright; Tomás Ó Sé, Peter Crowley, Fionn Fitzgerald; Anthony Maher, Johnny Buckley; Paul Galvin, Colm Cooper (c), Donnchadh Walsh; Darran O’Sullivan, Declan O’Sullivan, James O’Donoghue.
Substitutes: David Moran for J Buckley (50), Eoin Brosnan for S Enright (52), Kieran Donaghy for P Galvin (53), Aidan O’Mahony for M Griffin (62), Jack Sherwood for P Crowley (66).