Ballymun Kickhams turned on the power after the break as they eased to a comprehensive sixteen-point victory over a listless Thomas Davis at Parnell Park on Saturday afternoon.
Kickhams were far from impressive in the opening half, enjoying a slender but hardly deserved 1-5 to 0-6 interval lead, but once Brian Ashton netted within four minutes of the restart, tapping home from close range after Dean Rock's attempt had been repelled, they clicked into gear with their opponents chasing shadows by the final whistle.
By the end, it was difficult to recognise Thomas Davis from the organised and disciplined side that impressed greatly en route to last year's final and their lack of a cutting thrust up front was evident the longer the contest evolved as they managed just two points after the break, both coming through Davy Keogh.
Indeed, Keogh was one of the few bright spots for the Tallaght outfit, kicking three points from play while others floundered around him, and the Dublin hurler was terribly unfortunate to see two cracking attempts, one in either half, cannon to safety off Evan Comerford's crossbar.
Theoretically, had that first shot crept under the bar, Thomas Davis might have been handed tangible reward for the plentiful amounts of possession that they enjoyed in the first half but their inability to turn territory into scores was at the hub of their difficulties all evening.
They didn't enjoy the ideal start either as James McCarthy ghosted in behind their defence after 45 seconds and his rising shot from eight yards left the badly-exposd Robbie Crilly helpless in the Davis goal.
Last year's beaten finalists bounced back well from that setback through settling scores by Eoin Kirby, Ryan Deegan and Keogh but Rock's five points, including two from open play, edged Kickhams two points clear by half-time.
Rock looked particularly sharp throughout, as did Dublin colleagues Philly McMahon and the ubiquitous McCarthy while Paddy Small, after a frustrating opening period, finally found his range with three points inside ninety seconds at the beginning of the final quarter.
By this stage, all pretence of a contest had been eroded as Kickhams attacked with monotonous regularity as Crilly worked wonders in sparing his side further heartache.
However, with his kick-outs unable to find their attended target, Ballymun were always likely to create another overlap and they finished the game in a pleasing manner as substitute Dillon Keating cracked home from twelve yards to confirm Ballymun's progression as group winners and a mouth-watering encounter with near neighbours Na Fianna in the quarter-finals.
Scorers - Ballymun Kickhams: D Rock 0-7 (0-5f), J McCarthy, D Keating 1-1 each, P Small 0-3, B Ashton 1-0, F Andrews 0-2, C Keeley 0-1. Thomas Davis: E Kirby 0-4 (4f), D Keogh 0-3, R Deegan 0-1.
Ballymun Kickhams: E Comerford; D Conlon, E Dolan, P McMahon; C Keeley, J Small, L Young; B Ashton, J McCarthy; C McCormack, D Byrne, J Whelan; P Small, F Andrews, D Rock. Subs: E Hill for Ashton (47), A McCaul for Whelan (47), D Keating for Andrews (49), C O'Tighe for P Small (53), A Swan for Byrne (56).
Thomas Davis: R Crilly; S Kennedy, E Lambert, A Fallon; C Murphy, A Waddick, J Lambert; E Conroy, R Deegan; E Kirby, S Farrelly, M Nolan; S O'Byrne Braiden, D Keogh, C Guilfoyle. Subs: C Farrelly for Guilfoyle (half-time), S Ryan for Nolan (40), A Shorten for Kennedy (46), E O'Toole for S Farrelly (46), C Sallier for O'Byrne Braiden (58).
REF: Dave Feeney (Parnell's)