DCU failed to rain on new Meath manager Eamonn Barry's parade as the Royals kickstarted 2006 with a 1-13 to 1-10 O'Byrne Cup win over the suspension-hit students.
DCU were missing four of their inter-county stars, Dessie Dolan (Westmeath), Diarmuid Kinsella (Wexford) and Ross Munnelly (Laois) and Shane Ryan (Dublin), due to 12-week bans handed down by the Higher Education Council last month.
Daithí Regan struck 1-03 in the opening half to propel Meath into a 1-07 to 0-05 half-time lead.
Conor Mortimer was DCU's top scorer with three frees, and the Mayo star tagged on a penalty in the second half, but Barry's side held on.
Denis Glennon scored a second half goal for Westmeath as new boss Tomas Ó Flatharta began his tenure with a 1-16 to 1-07 victory over hosts Carlow.
Having been 0-04 to 0-12 down at half-time, Carlow rallied when Simon Rea struck home a penalty nearing the hour mark.
There was also a maiden win for new Kildare manager John Crofton at Newbridge. His Lilywhites ran out easy 0-14 to 1-05 winners against Longford.
Meanwhile, Darren Clarke notched 1-03 to help Louth account for DIT - the Wee men won 3-14 to 1-10 in Drogheda. Kilkenny could do little to stop Offaly from romping to a 0-25 to 0-02 win at Nowlan Park.