Another night in Croker and another slow start for Dublin. Yet, at the end of it all, the powers of recovery shown by Dessie Farrell's side was enough to garner both points against Donegal. 

It was a point more than was the case when Monaghan provided the opposition a fortnight ago. February is providing a familiar narrative as Farrell continues to put his stamp on things.

Is the manager happy? Yes, he probably is, when new blood is being introduced with an eye to who will feature in the push for six come the summer.

Farrell, naturally enough would like to see his charges come out of the traps quicker.

In assessing the narrow come-from-behind win over Donegal, he told RTÉ Sport's Damien O'Meara: "It's great to be showing that type of resolve so late in the game. Plenty of character was demonstrated, though you have to ask why we're putting ourselves in such a position.

Farrell's Dubs are still unbeaten in this year's league 

"We had a poor start again tonight and that something we'll definitely be looking at. We will look at it during the week and have a discussion about it. Over the longer term it needs to be addressed."

That said, the Dubs boss did see an overall improvement from the stalemate against Monaghan, when adding: "Collectively, I thought we showed much more intensity. There was a big difference from the last day.

"We got fresh legs in off the bench and that was important as it was very intense out there. Having fresh bodies coming in at the right time does give you an impetus."

"It's a disappointed dressing-room that for the effort that we put into the game out there we came back with nothing.

Following the one-point defeat, Donegal boss Declan Bonner admitted that: "It's a disappointed dressing-room that for the effort that we put into the game out there we came back with nothing.

"We probably deserved to get something out of it. 

"We went five ahead early on in the game and played really well in that opening 25 minutes. But Dublin are always going to come back at you because they are a quality side."

Bonner was left to rue a fine save from Evan Comerford to deny Paddy McBrearty a goal in the 59th minute before goalkeeper Shaun Patton fumbled a high ball for Paul Mannion to finish late on.

"It probably turned on two incidents," said Bonner

"We had a goal opportunity to really make it difficult for Dublin to get back at us again but we didn't take it.

"The goal we gave away was poor. At this level you get punished and we got punished."

As for Dublin, Farrell and his selectors will be giving others a chance to stake a claim across the remainder of the league.

"I think the league for us has been about exploration and looking at potential new talent and seeing whether guys are up to the mark," Farrell explained.

"It's very different from club football. We'll try out more before the end of the league." 

Farrell also expects to have All-Star forward Con O'Callaghan (shoulder) and defender Jonny Cooper available to him shortly, but veteran midfielder Michael Darragh Macauley is likely to be sidelined for a longer period having undergone minor groin surgery.