It may only be the O'Byrne Cup, but Dublin manager Jim Gavin sees the benefit of giving as many as 29 players a chance to strut their stuff in the competition.

In testing conditions, Dublin booked their place in the semi-finals and a date away to Longford after a 1-16 to 1-12 win over DCU at Parnell Park.

Con O'Callaghan was one of those players looking to make an impact and he bagged 1-02 for the victors.

For Gavin, there are others like O'Callaghan who deserve the chance to stake a place in the squad for when the serious action begins.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, he said: "Most of the younger lads we called in do have that inter-county experience from Under-21 and minor level. It's a big step up but they are all here on merit. We've have watched all their championship and league games with their clubs.

"The game against Longford will be another great game for us to get so early in the year" - Jim Gavin

"They have earned the right to wear the county jersey and all credit to them today for putting their best foot forward."

Looking ahead to next Sunday's game at Pearse Park, the Dubs boss added: "The game against Longford will be another great game for us to get so early in the year - a quality fixture. We're back a week, so we have a bit of catching up to do."    

When asked about Rory Carroll's decision to take a year out from inter-county football, Gavin wished the player the best in his move to New Zealand.

"We have always told the players that we want them to express themselves not only on the field of play but also off it," he outlined.

"The things in life that are important are their familes, their profession and their sport. And it's all about trying to get that balance right. Rory is a very bright, intelligent man. He has a Masters in Social Services and has done great work in the city of Dublin. 

"He now wants to experience a different culture and lifestyle and we wish him the best of luck. He certainly goes with the sun on his back. We look forward to seeing him back in the future."