There were admissions this week from both manager Anthony Daly and captain Johnny McCaffrey that Dublin got a little bit ahead of themselves last year, and that's the message that will be ringing in their ears ahead of their return to action tonight.
The progress of 2011, which brought a league title, was wiped out by relegation last spring and a listless performance against Kilkenny in Leinster.
Crucially, Daly agreed to return for a fifth year in charge, but there were some outgoings as first-choice full-back Tomas Brady opted for the footballers
Regular midfielder McCaffrey has been deployed at centre-forward in the three previous challenge matches this year and has been named there for tonight's game, indicating that there could be considerable surgery on the Dubs line-up as the year progresses.
In their outings so far, Dublin beat Tipperary and reigning All-Ireland club champions Loughgiel, and managed a draw with Clare.
A campaign in Division 1B will take some of the focus off the Dubs this time around; should they win tonight, they'll take on the winners of Carlow and Galway.
There are three new faces in the side. Chris Crummey, Leinster MHC winning captain of 2011, starts at half-back, with Kevin Byrne at midfield and Mark Schutte, brother of full-back Paul, at full-forward.
UCD edged Laois last time out, with Tipperary star Noel McGrath firing over 11 of their 15 points. Kilmacud Crokes' Jack Dougan is a highly rated prospect and is firmly on Daly's radar – he is expected to line out at corner-back for the students.
Other Dubs involved with UCD include Oisin Gough, Sean Moran, Dylan Mulligan and Rory O'Carroll, who started at full-back in the Laois game.
Kilkenny star John Tennyson plays at centre-back, while fellow Cat Willie Phelan also plays in a strong-looking defence.
Up front, Limerick's Conor Allis leads the line from centre-forward, with Wexford's Jack Guiney on the edge of the square.
At 3/1, UCD are ranked as second favourites to win the Fitzgibbon Cup this year, just behind UL, and with Nicky English in charge – who at one stage was tipped to take the Dublin job before Daly's appointment – the students will have enough about them to give Dubs a rattle, even if they might come up just short.
Odds: Dublin 4/11 UCD 9/4 Draw 10/1
Dublin – G Maguire; N Corcoran, P Schutte, R Trainor; J Boland, M Carton, C Crummey; K Byrne, S Durkin; D Sutcliffe, J McCaffrey, C Keaney; E Dillon, M Schutte, P Ryan.