Rushe sees red as Quinn's late goal seals deal
Dublin 2-17 Carlow 1-13
Usually these sort of matches can be disregarded as soon as they are over but such is the need for bright sparks in Dublin hurling at the moment, every outing carries significance.
Dublin, featuring just three of last year's Championship team and minus 23 players from their official squad, began 2017 with a seven-point (2-17 to 1-13) win over Carlow in the Bord na Móna Walsh Cup last night in Parnell Park.
Given a minimum of 10 of those won't be back in time to help Ger Cunningham's beat All-Ireland champions Tipperary in the first round of the League, all green shoots were welcome.
They finished with 14 men too, with Liam Rushe sent off on a straight red card for some late off-the-ball aggro with Jack Kavanagh, who was also dismissed.
Naturally, the likes of Shane Barrett and Chris Crummey stood out down the spine of Dublin's fresh-looking defence.
Rushe, operating first in a midfield role he hasn't played for Dublin for four years and then at wing-back, offered up a similarly thoughtful display until Michael Murtagh deemed, on the advice of a linesman, that his 'rough-housing' with Kavanagh was worthy of such severe censure.
Of the new men, Na Fianna forward and 2014-2016 Dublin minor, Donal Burke was the sprightliest of a hard-working forward line early on.
Alex Quinn, star of last week's Dublin Bus/Herald Dubs Stars challenge took up that role late on.
Fionntain McGibb, a relative veteran in such youthful company, gave direction to that attack and young St Brigid's clubman, Cian O'Sullivan had his moments too, not least when McGibb put him in for Dublin's 17th minute goal.
Coming just four minutes after John Michael Nolan's goal for Carlow, it was a timely boon.
Mostly, Carlow were kept running by Denis Murphy's frees and for all Dublin's clear winter rust, they also had possessed more talent.
Further back, Galway native Donie Fox looked like a man with the wrists to live at a loftier altitude while the second half addition of Ben Quinn, in particular, injected some zip to an entire Dublin operation that flagged as the match wore on.
His twin brother, Alex, killed the game with an excellent solo goal, just after Rushe's sending off and just when Dublin seemed vulnerable.
It's UCD next Wednesday night at Parnell Park for Dublin in the group and then a trip to take on Davy Fitzgerald's Wexford team.