One count had Dublin without 23 members of their panel but they still had enough to battle past the challenge of a game Carlow side in Parnell Park last night.
oth sides finished the game with 14 men after Liam Rushe and Jack Kavanagh were shown straight red cards for an off-the-ball clash with ten minutes to go but Alex Quinn grabbed the game's decisive goal with time almost up to ensure the Dubs got their 2017 campaign off to a winning start.
Eight Dublin players were unavailable due to Cuala's run in the club championship and another 12 are on college duty for the Walsh Cup.
Injury ruled out David 'Dotsie' O'Callaghan and Cian Boland while Ryan O'Dwyer was on his honeymoon, meaning that manager Ger Cunningham was forced to go deep into his resources for last night's clash.
And despite fielding just three of the side that played when they lost to Cork in the championship in Páirc Uí Rinn last summer in Liam Rushe, Chris Crummey and Shane Barrett, Dublin found the resolve to hold on against a Carlow side who seemed to improve as the game progressed.
Throw-in was delayed by ten minutes as the Carlow team bus got caught in traffic after an incident on the M50 and it was the home side who made the brighter start when they reeled off the first four points of the game.
The likes of Leinster minor winner in 2016 Donal Burke, Galway native Donie Fox and Fionntan MacGib impressed early on with the latter converting a fine sideline cut. However, it was Carlow who grabbed the first goal of the game on 13 minutes.
Edward Byrne ploughed towards goal and squared to Chris Nolan who swept to the net.
That goal brought the sides level and Carlow would take the lead when John Michael Nolan landed his side's first point from play on 15 minutes.
However, Dublin would outscore the visitors 1-5 to 0-3 on the run to half-time.
St Brigid's forward Cian O'Sullivan bagged the goal, showing great pace to get clear of his man and finish low to the corner of Brian Treacy's net to help Dublin to a 1-10 to 1-6 interval lead.
Carlow were better in the second half with Paul Coady pointing the way and had closed the gap to just two points as the game entered the home stretch.
However, Quinn's late goal along with a flurry of late points ensured Cunningham's men took the spoils.
Scorers - Dublin: D Burke 0-5 (5fs), A Quinn 1-1, D Fox 0-4 (4fs), C O'Sullivan 1-0, F MacGib 0-2 (1 s-l) S McGrath, C Burke, C Maher, B Quinn, F Whitely 0-1. Carlow: D Murphy 0-9 (8fs, 1 '65), P Coady 0-3, C Nolan 1-0, JM Nolan 0-1.
Dublin - J Tracey; D Gray, S Barrett, F O Rian Broin; M McCaffrey, C Crummey, S McGrath; L Rushe, D Fox; C Burke, T Connolly, F MacGib; C Maher, D Burke, C O'Sullivan. Subs: A Quinn for T Connolly, B Quinn for McCaffrey, F Whitely for C Burke, G Maguire for Tracey (all h-t), N McMorrow for Maher (56), C Conway for McGrath (62).
Carlow - B Treacy; P Doyle, R Kelly, D Wall; R Coady, D Byrne, J O'Hara; J Kavanagh, C Wall; JM Nolan, J Murphy, K McDonald; D Murphy, E Byrne, C Nolan. Subs: P Coady for C Nolan, G Bennett for Kelly (both h-t), S Brennan for McDonald (45), D English for O'Hara (48), E Redmond for Wall (51), A Casey fro R Coady (54) S Murphy for Doyle, S Kavanagh for J Murphy (both 61), P Doyle for Byrne (64), K McDonald for D Murphy (68).
Ref - M Murtagh (Westmeath)