Fingal may have taken their leave of the Kehoe Cup last Sunday but before doing so they showed they will be a force to be reckoned with in 2009. Having dispatched Louth with some ease the previous week the new hurling force in Dublin were fancied by many to take the scalp of the students from DCU.
In the end the fitness of the DCU lads, who are at the height of their training regime in advance of the Fitzgibbon Cup, was the telling factor as they rattled off a string of scores in the closing moments.
However, the final scoreline is far from a fair reflection of the game, which looked like being a carbon copy of the Louth encounter in every respect.
Once again we were at Fingallians ground, we had a gale force wind, driving rain and when corner forward Cian O'Mahony – who had a hat trick last week – rattled the net after just three minutes it looked as if this was going to be a good day for the home side.
Crucially, though, the DCU defence was nowhere near as porous as the Louth men and that was the last time O'Mahony got a sniff of the goal.
For manager Dennis Murphy this Kehoe Cup campaign has provided a great learning curve and plenty of food for thought ahead of their first season in the NHL.
Last Sunday the Fingal men once again showed that they have plenty of technical skill and will be a match for anyone in the league.
Skerries Harps man Ross McGarry, who was a late replacement for Gearoid O'Cearnaigh, opened the scoring for Fingal in just the first minute with a fine point.
Although DCU were level quickly with a point from Offaly star Colm Coughlan, the home side surged into the lead with a superb goal from O'Mahony, which he smashed to the back of the DCU net.
The St Brigid's man is going to be a very important part of the team this year and if Fingal are to prosper in the championship then this man needs to show this kind of form consistently.
Fingal used the strong wind to their advantage and tagged on points from Paul Garbutt (2), a sublime score from Syls' Conor McCafferty and O'Mahony to lead by 1-5 to 0-3 after 20 minutes.
DCU nearly got themselves right back into contention on 22 minutes when full forward Ciaran O'Connor pulled on the sliothar in midair only to see his effort come crashing off the crossbar.
They were handed a big boost a minute later, though, when Fingal had midfielder Paul McAllister yellow carded and thus sent to the line under the new experimental rules. Emmet McCabe reduced the deficit even further after a great run through the heart of the Fingal defence resulted with a fine point.
Colm Foley followed that up with a point on 32 minutes to leave them trailing 1-5 to 0-4 at the break.
There was no doubt that DCU were going to come out all guns blazing in the second half and three points in the opening 10 minutes saw the teams all level on a 1-5 to 0-8 scoreline.
Having survived that initial onslaught Fingal steadied the ship with a superb point from Garbutt against the wind to retake the lead.
At the other end of the field St Sylvester's keeper Hillary Murray-Hession was literally pulling out all the stops with a crucial save in the 50th minute to deny Joe Cullen a certain goal after initially dropping the sliothar into his path.
With the weather conditions deteriorating even further it looked as if this might help Fingal as both sides found it hard to gain control of possession and free flowing hurling was at a minimum.
However, as the game entered the final ten minutes the fitness levels of DCU started to show and this proved crucial in closing the deal.
Substitute James Mulreaney got the ball rolling with a fine point from his first touch on 62 minutes. That was the first of five unanswered scores in a four minute blitz which sealed the win for the students.