'We don't want season defined by today' - Tom Cribbin
WESTMEATH have emerged from a Leinster final that no one thought they could win, having avoided a scorching.
But that will be no good to Tom Cribbin if they slip meekly through the back door.
"We've talked already about it," Cribbin declared after yesterday's 2-13 to 0-6 defeat to Dublin. "We don't want our season defined by today. We've put three great wins together. We need to go out and deliver the next day.
"We've no excuses. Dublin, everybody knows, are at the top. Like, you have two or three teams at the top very much stronger than everyone else, but the rest ... there isn't a lot of difference.
"We need to go and put in a big performance the next day," he reiterated.
The "next day" will be on Saturday week against either Kildare or Fermanagh, depending on this morning's qualifier draw. And the next question is will Cribbin revert to a more orthodox tactical set-up for that Round 4A showdown, or will he park the bus again?
"Depending on the draw," he replied. "I know what's naturally best for us, so if we're playing a team near our own standard, I think it's better for us to play an attacking style of football.
"That's where we're strong and, you know, Rome wasn't built in a day. So we have to build in small steps and we have to stay and develop the team long-term if we're going to have a better defensive structure - which we all know we have to have if we're to move to the next level."
Notwithstanding Dublin's provincial monopoly (ten of the last 11 Leinster titles) and amid calls for a two-tier championship, Cribbin is adamant about where he wants Westmeath to be competing.
"Look, as long as we can get the goal of winning a Leinster and an All-Ireland, I don't care if they have a second tier then as well," he declared.
"We want to be in the main championship ... as far as I'm concerned, I want to be trying to get up to Dublin. I want to be getting up to the best team in the country.
"I don't want a second tier thing set up for us, and having goals like that. I want to be playing in Croke Park. This is what you live for.
"The rest of us have to get up to Dublin.They set the standards - there's no point in making excuses, it's up to us to start working on our underage."
Meanwhile, Team Dublin move on to another All-Ireland quarter-final on the August Bank Holiday weekend with Jim Gavin reporting a virtually clean bill of health. "Nicky Devereux and Davey Byrne will be back," he assured. "Ger (Brennan) is getting there, so we hope we will see him around for the next game. Other than that there is some club stuff coming up, so guys might pick up some niggles and knocks. We won't wrap them up in cotton wool."