DOUBLE All-Ireland under-21 winner Gary Sweeney made a surprise return to action for the Dub Stars annual football challenge on Tuesday in Blakestown, where Paul Hudson was the star turn for Jim Gavin's men.Sweeney has not kicked a ball in anger since breaking his leg in a league match in July and while he had returned to training, his appearance in a Dublin shirt came as a surprise. It certainly comes as good news for his college DCU as they take on Dublin tomorrow in the second of the O'Byrne Cup clashes at Parnell Park and Gavin was full of praise for Sweeney's application. 'I was surprised to see Gary back but that's the testament to the hard work he has put in. To recover so quickly and be in such great condition at this time of year is a credit to him. 'He only played fifteen minutes but hopefully we can give him the chance to build on that over the course of the next few months,' said the Round Towers Clondalkin man after the game. Gavin used the opportunity to give valuable game time to several of his All Ireland under-21 team from 2012, while Vinny Whelan, a member of the 2010 side, started between the posts for the Metropolitans. But it was Hudson who the caught the eye with six points. As Skerries Harps found out at the same venue in the championship in September, Hudson can be nigh impossible to mark. And his hat-trick of points coupled with a late score from Skerries Harps man Harry Dawson was to finally put paid to the chances of a resilient Dub Stars team. One Skerries Harps man not involved on the day was Sam Maguire-winning captain Bryan Cullen, who got married on the same day. Dublin were also without Alan Brogan and Michael Fitzsimons, two of Gavin's main injury concerns heading into their league opener with Cork on February 2nd. Tuesday's game nonetheless allowed Gavin to field a team mixed with both experience and youth, with Ballyboden star Declan O'Mahony recalled in midfield where he starred alongside fellow Ballyboden man Michael Darragh Macauley. As a member of Gavin's first All-Ireland under-21 success in 2003, O'Mahony is nearing the twilight of his career but Gavin insisted that age is no barrier at either end of the scale. 'I think he (Declan) still has something to offer and the same goes for the guys who are essentially under nineteen this year. 'Gaelic games are probably sixty per cent skill and forty per cent physical. So I think if the guys are good enough and have that physical capacity at the same time, we will put them in.' While Hudson was the pick of that crop on the day, Ciaran Reddin was another to feature well on his introduction at left half forward. The Maurs man stuck diligently to his task throughout and knocked over one fine point after the break while in defence Darren Daly provided Dublin with a good engine down the right side. Gerry Seaver was another to perform well in defence while Miceal McCarthy as a late inclusion on the Dub stars team showed what a dangerous player he can be in the full forward line. It was McCarthy's goal in the last action of the first half - taking an offload from Dean Rock before drilling low past the keeper - that separated the teams as the Dublin Stars took a slender 1-4 to 0-6 lead at the break. And while Hudson would level shortly after the resumption, a strong showing from Paddy Andrews and McCarthy was to open up a goal lead midway through the half. The conversion of Diarmuid Connolly to full forward however was to see Dublin gradually edge their way back, the Vincents man benefiting from a Reddin assist to narrow the gap to two. Reddin then unleashed a terrific effort off his left foot to further reduce the deficit, and while Andrews would respond at the other end, Dublin were to dominate the final quarter with Hudson in stunning form. Nonetheless, the Dub Stars almost snatched a win at the very death, with Philly McMahon shooting wide from close range, but in the end Dublin just about deserved the win. DUB STARS: Sean Currie; Gareth Roche, Philly McMahon 0-1, Cian O'Sullivan; Alan Hubbard, Chris Guckian, James Burke 0-1; James McCarthy, Elliot Reilly; Ted Furman 0-2, Paddy Andrews, Adrian Morrissey; Paul Mannion, Dean Rock 0-2f, Miceál McCarthy (St Sylvesters, 1-2, 0-1f). Subs used: Stuart Lowndes, Shane Supple, Conor McKiernan, David Lynch. REFEREE: T Lambe (St Vincent's).