THE old quip that not even the O'Byrnes would go to the O'Byrne Cup didn't hold firm as a healthy crowd in Parnell Park were treated to an entertaining clash which was tighter than the scoreline suggests.
In the end, being reduced to 14 men after the dismissal of William Lowry on a second yellow card ultimately proved the students' undoing.
They still put up a brave fight, despite the absence of the likes of Michael Murphy and Aidan Walsh, who is hoping the DRA will clear him to line out for them in the upcoming Sigerson Cup.
It wasn't exactly an in-house game for Jim Gavin's side, but with a strong Dublin presence on the DCU team, it felt like it at times and it took 20 minutes before someone other than a Dub got on the scoreboard.
Dublin were 0-6 to 0-1 ahead when Monaghan's Jack McCarron pointed a free, but before that, there was plenty for Gavin and his stats men in the press box, who were relaying reams of information to the sideline, to consider.
The students opened the scoring when Ballymun's Dean Rock found fellow county panelist Micheal McCarthy, who lobbed over, but Dublin would take control after that.
They reeled off six points on the bounce, including three from the impressive Thomas Davis man Paul Hudson. But the students hung in and a free from McCarron broke Dublin's dominance before Rock cut the gap to three points.
The students then earned a penalty on 23 minutes after Darren Daly and Shane Supple combined to foul McCarthy. A goal would have brought the students level, but Rock blasted over for a point.
Dublin reasserted their dominance and opened a five-point lead with a minute of normal time left when Denis Bastick, a late replacement for Declan O'Mahony in midfield, found the net.
He reacted first after James Farrelly made a smart stop from Hudson that saw the DCU goalkeeper forced off with a blood injury.
But the students, winners of this competition last year, showed their mettle and with the last act of the half, Longford's Michael Quinn slapped to the net.
Dublin 'keeper and former Ipswich Town stopper, Shane Supple, had denied Quinn's first attempt, but was powerless to stop the former AFL player punching the ricochet home to ensure the students trailed by two, 1-7 to 1-5, at half-time.
The students made three changes at the break, including the introduction of captain and double All Star Paul Flynn, whose first act was to cut the gap to the minimum with a fine point. However, a Hudson free and a soft-looking penalty award against Lowry on Bernard Brogan, which Diarmuid Connlly converted, put the Dubs in charge once more.
The students fell six behind before they rallied once more with Brian Donnelly providing a new, more direct outlet for Niall Moyna's side on the edge of the square. They cut the gap back to two, but with the game up for grabs, Lowry's second yellow made Dublin's lead too steep a summit to climb – added to by frees from Robbie McCarthy and a Gary Sweeney effort.
Rock had kept the students in touch with a couple of nice scores and Fiontan O Curraoin had another late goal attempt well saved by Supple who was typically strong in one-on-one situations though a few kick-outs went awry.
Dublin started to make the extra space tell. Paddy Andrews landed his second score of the game and Kevin McManamon struck for a late goal that put an undeserved gloss on the scoreline for the Dubs, while DCU showed enough to suggest they'll be in the shake-up to retain the Sigerson.
Still there was plenty for Gavin to mull over. Tomas Brady's introduction to football at this level continues and he saw out the 70 minutes at full-back, while Hudson looked lively in the first half. Last year's minors, including Shane Carthy and sub David Byrne gave a good account of themselves.
With Dublin in a strong position in the group stages and another 70 minutes against Wicklow on Sunday, Gavin's experimentation looks set to continue.
SCORERS – Dublin: D Connolly 1-3 (1-0 pen, 0-1f, 0-1 '45'), P Hudson (1f), B Brogan (2f) 0-4 each, K McManamon, D Bastick 1-0 each, R McCarthy (2f), P Andrews 0-2 each, G Sweeney 0-1. DCU: D Rock 0-6 (2f, 0-1 pen), M Quinn 1-0, J McCarron (1f), P Flynn, M McCarthy, S Carey, D Smith 0-1 each.
Dublin – S Supple; D Daly, T Brady, D Nelson; C O'Sullivan, G Brennan, J McCaffrey; D Bastick, E O Conghaile; S Carty, P Andrews, P Quinn; P Hudson, D Connolly, B Brogan Subs: C Guckian for O'Sullivan (18), R McCarthy for Hudson, K McManamon for O Conghaile, D Byrne for Nelson (all 50), G Sweeney for Carthy (58).
DCU – J Farrelly; J Cooper, W Lowry, C Boyle; E Doherty, M Quinn, J McCarthy; F O Curraoin, C Dunleavey; P O'Hanlon, D Rock, A McFadden; M McCarthy, J McCarron, J Brady Subs: W Hender-Phillips for Farrelly (35), P Flynn for McFadden (h-t), B Donnelly for McCarron (h-t), D Smith for O'Hanlon (h-t), S Carey for Brady (52), P Daly for Smith (64).
Ref – D Fahy (Longford)