The hosts eased into an early four point lead with Donal Burke, Canice Maher, Donie Fox and Fionntán Magibb all on target before Carlow opened their account through an 8th minute free by Denis Murphy. Fox restored Dublin’s four point lead with his second free of the night but it was the visitors that struck for the game’s opening goal when Chris Nolan availed of hesitancy in the Dublin full-back line to scramble home in the 12th minute.
Dublin replied through an excellent goal of their own through Cian O’Sullivan four minutes later as the minor from last year raced through before unleashing a powerful drive beyond Brian Treacy.
Burke was another senior debutante to impress and his ability to secure frees from full-forward inched Dublin into a 1-10 to 1-6 interval advantage.
Dublin made a number of changes at the break with Alex Quinn making an instant impression and they moved further clear thanks to scores from Fox and Sean McGrath.
However, their play deteriorated from that point despite a fine Ben Quinn point and the impeccable free-taking of Murphy saw Carlow reduce their deficit to three points by the 58th minute. A Fox free helped settle Dublin nerves somewhat but the dismissal of their captain Liam Rushe alongside Jack Kavanagh in the 63rd minute added greater intensity to the closing stages.
Carlow kept at Dublin’s heels through three points from substitute Paul Coady but an Alex Quinn goal three minutes from time helped secure a less than impressive victory for Dublin..
D Burke 0-5 (0-5f), D Fox 0-4 (0-4f), A Quinn 1-1, C O’Sullivan 1-0, F Magibb 0-2 (0-1 s/l), S McGrath, C Burke, C Maher, B Quinn, F Whitely 0-1 each. Carlow: D Murphy 0-9 (0-8f, 0-1 ‘65’), P Coady 0-3, C Nolan 1-0, J Nolan 0-1.
J Treacy; D Gray, S Barrett, F Ó Riain Broin; M McCaffrey, C Crummey, S McGrath; L Rushe, D Fox; C Burke, T Connolly, F Magibb; C Maher, D Burke, C O’Sullivan. Subs: G Maguire for Treacy, A Quinn for Connolly, F Whitely for McCaffrey and B Quinn for C Burke (all half-time), N McMorrow for Maher (57), C Conway for McGrath (64).
B Treacy; P Doyle, R Kelly, D Wall; R Coady, D Byrne, J O’Hara; J Kavanagh, C Wall; J Nolan, J Murphy, K McDonald; D Murphy, E Byrne, C Nolan. Subs: G Bennett for Kelly and P Coady for C Nolan (half-time), S Brennan for McDonald (47), D English for O’Hara (49), E Redmond for D Wall (52), A Casey for R Coady (56), S Murphy for Doyle and S Kavanagh for J Murphy (64), Doyle for D Byrne (66).
Michael Murtagh (Westmeath)