Allianz Football League champions Kerry came, saw and were utterly conquered by All-Ireland champions Dublin, who have one foot in the final after their fifth successive win.
If Kerry needed this game to measure exactly where their emerging young talent stands right now then they certainly got a reading, just not one that will sit well in Kerry over the next days and weeks.
Here they ran into a ruthless Dublin team not only intent on winning back the League title Kerry usurped from them last April, but also, it seems, driving Kerry's Championship plans back and down into the ground.
However, relinquishing their League crown is the least of the Kingdom's problems right now, as Dublin took them apart with a minimum fuss.
Goals from Niall Scully and Ciaran Kilkenny copper-fastened this Dublin win - their biggest of the campaign so far - as Jim Gavin's side looked imperious once they hit their stride in the third quarter, with the last quarter petering out as Kerry's heads and hearts abandoned them.
Barring defeat to Galway and Monaghan in their final two games, the Dubs will play the Tribesmen again in the final on April 1.
Niall Scully's goal separated the teams at half time, 1-8 to 0-8, after a spiky opening 36 minutes that produced just enough acrimony to keep the 24,026 crowd warm on a crisp, cool Dublin afternoon.
Niall Scully with a goal for Dublin! pic.twitter.com/UFZadK4jHv— The GAA (@officialgaa) March 11, 2018
That first half was book-ended by all three of Kerry's inside forwards scoring from play inside the first five minutes and black cards for Kerry midfielder Barry O'Sullivan and Dublin defender John Small within a minute of each other at the end of the half.
In between, both teams tried to get a stranglehold on a game that Kerry simply had to win to keep their title defence alive, and those early points from play from David Clifford, Kevin McCarthy and Paul Geaney filled them with confidence.
A Sean O'Shea point edged Kerry 0-4 to 0-1 ahead by the ninth minute before Ciaran Kilkenny landed two points in quick succession to bring Dublin back into it.
Dean Rock's deft chip over Shane Murphy just trailed wide of the Kerry goal as Dublin moved up a gear, and after Clifford and Rock (free) swapped points, Paul Geaney saw his close-range low shot come back off the the Dublin post with Kevin McCarthy tidying up with a point to make it 0-6 to 0-4 after 17 minutes.
Three minutes later Dublin were ahead after Scully was at the end of a full-pitch movement to palm Shane Carthy's pass to the Kerry net.
Ciarán Kilkenny with a goal for Dublin! pic.twitter.com/iW9y3VYoM2— The GAA (@officialgaa) March 11, 2018
Dublin wouldn't be behind again, as they led by that goal at half time and simply occupied a different planet in the second half.
Early points from Paddy Andrews and Paddy Small nudged Dublin four ahead and when Kilkenny trickled the ball over the goal-line after an initial save from Murphy, it was a matter of how much Dublin could win by.
Kerry had waited 29 minutes for a score by the time Micheal Burns pointed in the 54th minute, but it was academic at that stage as Dublin led 2-14 to 0-9, and they eased to a 12-point victory that leaves the teams six places apart in the Division but worlds apart in every other sense.
Dublin: S Cluxton; S Carthy, J Cooper 0-01, D Byrne, E Lowndes; S Carthy, C O'Sullivan, J Small; B Fenton, MD Macauley; N Scully 1-01, C Kilkenny 1-03, B Howard; P Andrews 0-03, D Rock 0-04 (2f), C Basquel 0-02.
Subs: P Small 0-01 for S Carthy (31), P McMahon 0-01 for J Small (black card, HT), C Reddin for P Small (50, blood), P Small for D Rock (59), A McGowan for C O'Sullivan (64, inj), C Costello 0-01 for C Kilkenny (68), E Ó Conghaile for B Fenton (68).
Kerry: S Murphy, S Enright, J Foley, R Shanahan, P Murphy, P Crowley, B Ó Beaglaoich, J Barry, B O’Sullivan, M Burns 0-02, S O’Shea 0-01, A Spillane, D Clifford 0-04 (0-02f), P Geaney 0-01, K McCarthy 0-02.
Subs: É Ó Conchúir for B O'Sullivan (black card, 34 mins), BJ Keane for P Geaney (inj, HT), M Geaney 0-01 for S O'Shea (inj, HT), F Fitzgerald for K McCarthy (49), D Casey for M Burns (64
Referee: C Brannigan (Down)