THERE was something almost plaintive about Tom Cribbin's post-match remarks last Sunday, having seen his new Westmeath troops descend from three points up on their Meath nemesis to six down over the last 27 minutes in Mullingar.
"We just didn't have the confidence to even kick a 14-yard free over the bar" or "They are nearly nervous walking down the street now with a Westmeath bag because lads would be kind of smirking at you" were two of Cribbin's more eye-catching admissions.
However, moping around in self-pity will do nothing to stop the rot. It must come from the new manager but it must also come from the players.
It's certainly not Cribbin's fault that Westmeath have lost 15 competitive games on the spin, dating back to a long-forgotten win over Carlow in May 2013, but after that Royal fadeout, tonight's clash with DCU carries an ominous look.
Based on last Sunday's display, and the manager's post-match comments, one of his putative leaders, Denis Glennon, has yet to convince the new boss. Glennon departed before half-time with an injury, severity unclear; when probed afterwards, Cribbin declared: "For such an experienced player, there were one or two balls, maybe, he could have gone for a little bit harder." Ouch.
It could be more painful, still, if Enda Smith, Conor Meredith and Conor McHugh reprise their impressive weekend form in Longford, where an 11-point win tees them up to challenge Meath for top spot.
MEATH v LONGFORD
(Navan, Tonight 7.30)
IT took Meath a while to get going against Westmeath. However, once Mick O'Dowd beefed up his defence with the introduction of Donal Keogan, Bryan Menton and Donnacha Tobin, and once Graham Reilly went super-sonic in the last quarter (bringing his haul to 0-6 from play) it was all relatively plain sailing.
Francis McGee was equally prolific against DCU; the problem was with his sluggish Longford teammates.