Donegal were brought back down to earth in Croke Park on Saturday night as they were unable to match the fitness of a young Dublin side.
A magnificent goal from Jack McCaffrey seven minutes from the end was the clinching score for the home side who always held the upper hand throughout.
Donegal again fielded nine of their starting All-Ireland side, while Dublin had only five of the team that started against Donegal in the All-Ireland semi-final clash back in August.
However, before half-time Donegal had sent in Neil McGee to shore up the full-back line and not long into the second half Colm McFadden also made his comeback.
Donegal will not be happy with their overall display with a lot of mistakes in a game that was fractious, especially in the second half. There were numerous melees with Dublin losing Kevin McManamon to a second yellow card early in the second half.
Referee Maurice Deegan was like a fireman putting out fires in different parts of the field, especially in the second half.
Donegal started well with Michael Murphy pointing after 24 seconds and the full-forward added a second on two minutes when Patrick McBrearty was fouled.
But the Donegal defence was cut open two minutes later as Eric Lowndes put Cormac Costello through and he slipped the ball past Paul Durcan, whose kick-out had led to the Dublin attack.
Durcan was injured trying to prevent the goal and had to be replaced by Michael Boyle.
Michael Murphy levelled matters on 10 minutes but Dublin began to find their feet and despite hitting seven first half wides, they hit the next three points from Davy Byrne, Emmet O’Conghaile and Eoghan O’Gara. The latter turned Eamon McGee and was through on goal but elected to take his point.
Patrick McBrearty replied for Donegal with a brace of points to reduce the margin to the minimum by the 26th minute.
Dean Rock availed of a free won by Cormac Costello while Mark McHugh blazed wide at the other end. Dean Rock converted a ‘45’ after Michael Boyle deflected a Denis Bastick effort around the post.
In added time Frank McGlynn set up Christy Toye for a good score while Michael Murphy engineered a score for Patrick McBrearty to leave just a point between them at the break - Dublin 1-5, Donegal 0-7.
Donegal started the second half well with a Michael Murphy point after 14 seconds but they were unable to exert their usual third quarter pressure with Dean Rock responding with two frees.
Dublin were reduced to 14 on 45 minutes when Kevin McManamon picked up a second yellow.
The numerical advantage didn’t matter as they kept in front with Donegal only able to get within a point. That was on 52 minutes when a great break by Ryan McHugh was finished by Christy Toye.
Then came the clinching score when substitute McCaffrey first fired over a point and then after Patrick McBrearty lost possession when almost through, he tore through the Donegal defence to unleash an unstoppable shot past Michael Boyle.
In between those two scores Donegal had two great chances for points with Ryan McHugh wide and Colm McFadden droppoing his effort short.
But with the margin out to five points Donegal never really looked like creating the goal that they needed with the final two points of the contest shared by Colm McFadden and Ciaran Kilkenny
Donegal lost Michael Murphy to a black card with two minutes left.
Donegal: Paul Durcan; Frank McGlynn, Eamon McGee, Paddy McGrath; Karl Lacey, Eamonn Doherty, Mark McHugh; Neil Gallagher, Christy Toye (0-2); Ryan McHugh, Martin O’Reilly, Odhran MacNiallais; Patrick McBrearty (0-4,1f), Michael Murphy (0-4,3f), Hugh McFadden. Subs., Michael Boyle for Durcan 6; Neil McGee for McGrath 18; Martin McElhinney for O’Reilly 45; Colm McFaddden (0-1) for H McFadden 53; Darach O’Connor for Doherty 64; Daniel McLaughlin for Murphy, b card 69.
Dublin: Sean Currie; Eoin Culligan, Michael Fitzsimons, Daren Daly; Jonny Cooper, John Small, Davy Byrne (0-1); Denis Bastick, Emmet O’Conghaile (0-1); Tomas Brady, Dean Rock (0-5,4f,45), Eric Lowndes; Kevin McManamon, Eoghan O’Gara (0-1), Cormac Costello (1-0). Subs., David Byrne for Culligan 16; Ciaran Kilkenny (0-1) for Brady 18; Jack McCaffrey (1-1) for Lowndes 48; Philly McMahon for Cooper 59; Bernard Brogan for Costello 64; Michael Dara Macauley for Davy Byrne 70.
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)