Cavan defender Gerard Smith harbours an all too clear recollection of his team's opening game against Armagh in the Allianz League back in February.
Mickey Graham's side were not so much beaten as humiliated on that occasion, yet, amid the debris, vital lessons were absorbed.
The 2-18 to 1-8 mauling at the Athletic Grounds proved the ultimate wake-up call, even though Cavan's form during the remainder of the league was such that they still could not avoid making the drop into Division Three.
But just the same, Smith believes that the team's vow to prevent a repetition of such a catastrophe has stood them in good stead during their stirring journey to a first Ulster title in 23 years, a surge that has further bolstered morale ahead of tomorrow's All-Ireland semi-final against reigning champions Dublin at Croke Park (5.30pm).
"Let's be honest, we were beaten out the gate by Armagh that night. It was a real low point for us, but we learned from it and that helped us to reach a massive high against Donegal in the Ulster final," pointed out Lavey clubman Smith.
"The fact that we had already been relegated in the league did not impact too heavily on us in that game. We said we would give the Ulster Championship a mighty lash and that's how things turned out.
"We knew we were being written off going in against Donegal in the final but that made us all the more determined to produce a huge collective effort."
Tomorrow, the Breffni side will face arguably their toughest test since the 1997 Ulster final in which they beat Derry 1-14 to 0-16 to claim the title, but little did they know then that they were to remain in the Championship shadows from that point until now.
Dublin, fresh from mauling Meath 3-21 to 0-9 in the Leinster final and firmly focused on what would be a sixth successive All-Ireland crown, already have one foot in the final in the eyes of many.
Dynamic wing-back Smith, a workaholic in what is a rejuvenated Cavan team, does not quite see things that way, however.
"Sure, we know they are hot favourites, but we have grown accustomed to the underdogs tag," he stressed. "We know we will have to dig even deeper, but we feel we can do this. We relish the chance to play in Croke Park."
While the Dubs will parade their stellar performers, with Stephen Cluxton, Dean Rock, Brian Fenton, Ciaran Kilkenny and James McCarthy leading the way, Smith feels Cavan have their own quota of elite warriors.
He points to Gearoid McKiernan, Padraig Faulkner, Martin Reilly, Killian Clarke, Conor Madden and skipper Raymond Galligan as providing a solid layer of experience, while Luke Fortune, Thomas Galligan, Oisin Kiernan, James Smith and Conor Smith bring enterprising youthfulness to the table.
"There is no doubt that Dublin have real quality. The nucleus of the side have been playing together for a long time now so there is total understanding and teamwork there," said Smith.
"But the challenge for us will be to play to our strengths. Everyone is absolutely buzzing and, while there will be no fans in Croke Park, we know we will have the backing of thousands of Cavan people both at home and abroad.
"Obviously it would be great to have our followers there to cheer us on but we have got used to not having them during the Ulster Championship."