Other results secured Tyrone's survival, but a first win in Killarney in 19 years was no less sweet for the All-Ireland champions as they got the better of Kerry on a 1-15 to 2-11 scoreline.
The Kingdom, with their place in the Division 1 decider already secured, didn’t make this one easy for the visitors, whose best performance of the season to date gave them the result they deserved.
Darren McCurry’s 1-07 haul led the Red Hands to the perfect result as they fine-tune for their Ulster Championship opener against Fermanagh in three weeks’ time.
Kerry, who face Mayo in next Sunday’s decider, could have been forgiven for affording themselves a relaxed saunter in the Killarney sunshine.
But not an inch is surrendered willfully in any clash with their great rivals from the north, and every opportunity to inflict pain is gratefully accepted.
The venue has been a graveyard for Tyrone teams in recent season, a place where they hadn’t won since 2003, and furthermore, here was the perfect chance for the Kingdom to exact a measure of retribution for last summer’s shock All-Ireland semi-final defeat. But it didn’t work out like that.
McCurry fired over three early scores for the visitors, but Kerry hit the front in the 14th minute with a brilliantly worked goal.
David Clifford slipped a pass to Joe O'Connor as he charged through the middle, and the midfielder unselfishly crossed for Tony Brosnan to bury his shot in the net.
With Peter Harte pressing relentlessly and Darragh Canavan drifting deep to link play, the Red Hands hunted in packs, and prised the gaps in the home defence from which McCurry, Canavan and Niall Sludden sent over points as they went three clear after half an hour.
Paul Geaney and Stephen O’Brien worked effectively to progress the Kingdom cause, but they lacked penetration until they got Clifford on the ball, the Fossa magician flummoxing the Ulster men with a spectacular score.
Brosnan added another as the Munster men stepped up the pressure approaching the interval, and they looked increasingly secure as they plugged holes at the back.
Tyrone held a slender 0-09 to 1-05 lead at the break, but a superb individual score from wing-back Brian O Beaglaioch had the sides level within five minutes of the restart.
Jason Foley kept Cathal McShane quiet with a masterful display of full-back play, and while threats came from elsewhere, the Kerry defence held its discipline.
Tyrone could only manage a Kieran McGeary score from a spell of pressure, and they were caught on the breakaway for Kerry’s second goal at the end of the third quarter.
Paudie Clifford’s searching pass found Geaney, who released O’Brien in front of goal, and as he was hauled down, referee David Coldrick awarded a penalty.
Brosnan stepped up to slot the kick in the bottom corner of the net, but straight from the kick-out, Tyrone responded with a stunning McCurry goal, smacked in off a post from Canavan’s long ball.
Clifford pushed the Kingdom back in front, but battling Tyrone were not fazed, levelling twice through Conn Kilpatrick and McCurry, before the latter regained the lead five minutes from the end.
Peter Harte pushed the advantage out to two, and they defended desperately to frustrate Clifford and co in the closing stage, with Paul Geaney’s free the only reward for sustained pressure.
Kerry: S Murphy; D Casey, J Foley, T O’Sullivan; G O’Sullivan, T Morley, B O Beaglaioch (0-01); D O’Connor, J O’Connor; S O’Brien (0-01), J Savage, M Burns; T Brosnan (2-01, 1-00 pen), D Clifford (0-04, 0-01f), P Geaney (0-03, 0-02fs).
Subs: Paudie Clifford for Savage (ht), A Spillane for Burns (46), J Barry for J O’Connor (46), G White (0-01) for Casey (55), K Spillane for Geaney (69).
Tyrone: N Morgan (0-01, 0-01 ’45); M McKernan, R McNamee, P Hampsey; R Brennan, P Harte (0-01), F Burns; C Kilpatrick (0-01), R Donnelly; C Meyler, N Sludden (0-02), K McGeary (0-02); D McCurry (1-07, 0-04fs), C McShane, D Canavan (0-01).
Subs: L Rafferty for McNamee (15-23, blood), M Donnelly for McShane (44), L Rafferty for M Donnelly (53), N Donnelly for R Donnelly (56), B McDonnell for McKernan (61), C McKenna for Canavan (68).
Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).