Dublin duly picked up the National Hurling League Division 1B on points on offer in Netwatch Cullen Park but they had to produce a much improved second performance to see off the challenge of a proud Carlow side who made the Metropolitans earn everything which came their way.

18 minutes in Carlow, led 0-03 to 0-02 with Marty Kavanagh knocking over two frees and John Michael Nolan scoring a neat point from play. Rian McBride replied with two points for Dublin.

Gradually the visitors pulled themselves into a narrow lead and with Oisin O'Rorke, Sean Moran and McBride all raising white flags Dublin went in leading 0-06 to 0-04 at the interval.

It could have been more but in the space of a couple of minutes in the second quarter Chris Crummey had two goal chances.

Neither time was he on target as the Dublin number five, who started at midfield, over-carried on the first occasion and pulled an effort wide of the right hand upright when he looked certain to score.

The visitors were a different side after the break.

An improved second half performance saw Dublin ease away from Carlow

Against the wind on a soft surface they ratcheted up the intensity. Slowly but surely they picked off their scores with substitute, Paul Ryan, scoring five points on his arrival into the action.

The three-pointers wouldn’t come. Damien Jordan, in the Carlow goal, made a great save from John Hetherton with Oisin O’Rorke’s follow up effort flying wide.

Jordan made two further point blank saves but in the process picked up an injury which gave young sub keeper, Ciaran Abbey, a chance to play at this level. He did nothing wrong and kept a clean sheet in the 26 minutes he was in the game.

On the other hand, Dublin exercised almost complete control for most of the second half and while the home side fought to the bitter end their rivals, chastened by a below par first half performance, saw out the game in style to emerge eleven point winners.

Carlow: Damien Jordan; Ross Smithers, Paul Doyle, Michael Doyle; Richard Coady, David English (0-01, 1f), Gary Bennett; Jack Kavanagh, Aaron Amond; John Michael Nolan (0-02), Marty Kavanagh (0-06,4f), Kevin McDonald; Ted Joyce, Paul Coady, Cathal Tracey.

Subs: Sean Whelan for R. Coady (16 mins), Ciaran Abbey for Jordan (47 mins), Dean Tobin for Smithers (59 mins), Dara Tobin for P. Coady (60 mins), Tadgh Daly for Amond (69 mins).

Dublin: Alan Nolan; Paddy Smyth, Eoghan O Donnell, James Madden; Chris Crummey (0-02), Daire Gray (0-02), Sean Moran (0-02, 1f); Jake Malone, Rian McBride (0-04); John Hetherton, Donal Burke, Mark Schutte; Oisin O’Rorke (0-03, 3f), Ronan Hayes, Shane Barrett.

Subs: David Kehoe (0-02) for Schutte (h/t), Cian O’Callaghan for Barrett (h/t), Paul Ryan (0-05, 3f, 1' 65) for O’Rourke (49 mins), Alex McNeill for McBride (blood 63 mins), Fiontán McGibb for Burke (67 mins), Andrew Dunphy (67 mins) for Madden (69 mins).

Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford)