O'Dowd: We didn't come here to just see how much we could lose by
The omens weren't good for Meath yesterday.
Before the ball had even been thrown into the latest reminder that they and their one-time foes have charted opposite journeys since the heyday of their rivalry, one of their subs, Brian Power from Ratoath, was crumpled in their net and required a stretcher to be taken off the pitch.
You couldn't say it only got worse from there because the Royals put in a smart first half shift, looking as though they might examine Dublin's ability to win down the stretch.
But that only served to make the second-half and the end result all the more dispiriting for a young but not-particularly-improving Meath side.
"It's not nice," Mick O'Dowd admitted.
"I'm as passionate a Meath man as anyone else that's ever played with the county or that's (been) involved.
"Those players have given so much to get really ready to compete at this level but that shows that they've more work to do. That's the reality of it.
"We're not making excuses, we're jut going to put our heads down and keep working harder."
If the script had already been written, O'Dowd wasn't about to admit it.
"We didn't come here to just see how much we could lose by or reduce that amount. We came here to have a go.
"We obviously felt we needed to stop Dublin goals, which we did, but at the other end of the pitch we probably didn't create enough chances and the couple of goal chances we did create we needed to be taking."
"They're shattered in there. They're shattered.
"I genuinely mean that they didn't come up here for damage limitation as some people were thinking.
"And I know there'll probably be some criticism that 'why didn't we have a go', but we did have a go.
"We just weren't able to... we just didn't finish our chances when we got them."
Derry lie in wait in Celtic Park in the qualifiers and even if O'Dowd was true to his word and wasn't expecting yesterday's result, he's likely to have some contingency plan for the qualifiers.
"I don't think it'll be hard at all to lift the team," he reckoned.
"The team have put so much work into this over the last eight months that I don't think it'll be hard at all to get them ready.
"We played up in Derry before in the League so we know where we're going and who we're playing so we'll just dust ourselves down.
"We got a bit of a lesson there. As I said, we're not the first to get it and we mightn't be the last this year either."