The Dubs smothered the Kerry attack throughout the first half, though the Kingdom came out and made their superior possession pay.
But with eight minutes left, Dublin came flying back despite being four points behind.
It gives Donegal hope for the future.
And if Jim McGuinness can add the attacking finish to the incredible defensive game he had developed, Donegal can follow in the Dublin footsteps.
Goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton converted a winning free in stoppage time to give Dublin their first All-Ireland Senior Football Championship title since 1995.