Louth manager Pete McGrath and selector Aaron Hoey. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
For the second week in a row, Louth manager Pete McGrath was left ruing the number of mistakes made by his side in defeat.
Speaking after Saturday night's 13-point loss in Cavan, the Mourneman insisted that his team must commit fewer errors if they harbour any survival aspirations in Division Two.
"Obviously, the scoreboard tells its own story. It's a heavy defeat," McGrath said.
"If you had asked me at half-time, can we win this match? I would have said: yes, we can.
"One thing I would have been certain of would be that we would be there in the last 10-minutes, but it didn't turn out that way and that kind of implosion in the third-quarter when we let Cavan away and made mistakes, that was the most disappointing thing.
Allianz League Division 2— Louth GAA (@louthgaa) February 3, 2018
Louth 0-13 Cavan 3-17
"These players have to learn, they have to learn that mistakes will be punished and opportunities that you carve out have to be taken, and we just let them off the hook a couple of times tonight and, particularly in that third-quarter, we just collapsed.
"That's disappointing, but we are where we are and I've spoken to the players and we have to look at things that we need to improve. They need to take responsibility, as a management team, we have to take responsibility and we have got seven-days to get ready to go to Cork. We have got five matches left in this league, six-points could keep you in the division. Five to play, if we win three of those we could stay up and that has to be our target."
The Down-native continued: "These are county players. They knew this division was going to be very tight and competitive.
"We will resume training on Tuesday night and get at it again, and, between now and then, the management will have to look at what has to be done to try and improve the collective effort and what skills need to be worked on to get the players up to the required level.
"I said to the players, 'this is inter-county senior football', and there were things that went on their tonight that weren't good and they have to realise that, be prepared to hear that and accept that they're the only people who can put that right. That's what we're going to be working towards over the next seven-days," he added.
While the second-half performance disappointed the manager greatly, McGrath did take some comfort from the manner in which they finished the latter part of the opening-period.
"In the first-half, particularly the first 20-minutes, our big downfall was the number of times that our attacks were being turned over where we gave the ball away or hit it into the goalkeeper's hands.
"A very high percentage of attacks were turned over and quite a lot of those were down to our own decision-making or execution, and they were hitting us hard on the counter-attack, but when we stopped making mistakes and got in closer to get that run of points, our game became what it could be.
"But, in that third-quarter, they got a flurry of points to go from one ahead to four ahead and you could say that that was that for the game as a contest."