Kerry advanced to a third successive TG4 All-Ireland Ladies' SFC semi-final by claiming a one-point victory against Leinster champions Dublin in Saturday evening’s quarter-final tie at St. Brendan’s Park, Birr.
Dublin forward Sinéad Ahern had the chance to take the game into extra-time with the last kick of the game but the former All-Star dragged a free wide from the 20m line.
The full-time hooter sounded as Ahern’s effort sailed wide as Kerry, beaten Munster finalists, recovered in fine style to keep their season alive.
Lorraine Scanlon, named at midfield, but operating at full-forward, received the player-of-the-match award while lacklustre Dublin, All-Ireland champions in 2010, were best served by centre back Sinead Goldrick.
Kerry, who led by four points at the break, were in control and leading by 0-10 to 0-06.
Dublin, who bowed out at the quarter-final stage for a second successive season, were struggling for inspiration but finally kicked into life and made a real fight of it.
Until then, the Jackies had been continually frustrated by the massed Kerry ranks as the game developed into a real war of attrition.
But inspired by the superb Goldrick, Dublin fought back and points from the Foxrock/Cabinteely ace, sub Amy McGuiness and Ahern (free) brought Dublin to within a single point, trailing by 0-09 to 0-10.
Kerry were hanging on, but Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh slotted over a wonderful free from an acute angle to open up a two-point lead with time running out.
Wind assisted Dublin responded with less than a minute to go when Niamh McEvoy sent over a free and there was still time for late drama, with Ahern off-target as the Dubs chased parity.
At half-time, Kerry were 0-08 to 0-04 clear but it took some time for the game to ignite.
The sides were deadlocked three times before Kerry hit five points without reply to establish a 0-08 to 0-03 advantage.
Megan O’Connell, who went off early in the second half hit, three points for the Kingdom, including one score that could have been a goal as the Southern Gaels player palmed the ball over the crossbar from Ní Mhuircheartaigh’s pass.
Ace forward Ní Mhuircheartaigh also scored three points in that opening half, including two frees, while Sarah Houlihan and Deirdre Corridan scored a point each.
Dublin were held to just two points from play in the opening half, but the Sky Blues were aggrieved on two occasions when referee John Niland whistled play back for earlier infringements, when clear goal chances had opened up if play was allowed to continue.
Louise Scanlon came closest to a Kerry goal in the 16th minute before Corridan tapped over while Natalia Hyland blazed just over the crossbar from Dublin’s next attack.
Scorers for Dublin: S Ahern 0-03f, A McGuinness (1f), S Goldrick & N Hyland, 0-02 each, N McEvoy 0-01f.
Scorers for Kerry: L Ní Mhuircheartaigh 0-04 (3f), M O’Connell 0-03, S Houlihan, D Corridan, P Dennehy & L Galvin 0-01 each.
DUBLIN: C O’Connor; G O’Malley, J O’Sullivan, S O’Mahony; R Ruddy, S Goldrick, F Hudson; G Fay, S Finnegan; O Leonard, N Collins, N Hyland; S Ahern, N McEvoy, A Ring.
Subs: A McGuinness for Collins (17), S Woods for Leonard (40), A McKenna for Ring (46), K Flood for Hyland (46), S Tracey for Hudson (54).
KERRY: E Murphy; C Lynch, A Leonard, A Lyons; J Brosnan, A Desmond, L Galvin; E Sherwood, B Breen; S Houlihan, D Corridan, C Kelly; M O’Connell, L Scanlon, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh.
Subs: P Dennehy for O’Connell (35), M Quirke for Corridan (50), C Buckley for Lyons (56).
Referee: J Niland (Sligo).