Errors cost Ireland's women as signs of progress evaporate
Women's Six Nations: Ireland 12-15 Scotland
The problem with long-termism is that, at some point, substantial signs of progress just have to be seen.
It was a case of one step forward, two steps back, as problems of old came back to haunt Ireland.
Scotland are improving, but even still, Ireland should have had enough quality to see them off.
Instead, they were condemned to their second Six Nations defeat before a daunting final trip to England on Friday.
Countless knock-ons and unforced errors halted any momentum and the visitors took full advantage.
Given how well Ireland had performed against Wales last time out, they took a big step backwards at Donnybrook yesterday as they were left to rue a slow start to the game.
Adam Griggs' side barely fired a shot in what was a poor first-half showing.
They were unable to work their way through the phases and as a result Scotland grew in confidence.
Katie Fitzhenry was aggressive in midfield, but the lack of cohesion in the back-line was concerning.
Up front, it took the pack until late into the second-half to get the upper hand on the Scots, but as soon as they did, they obliterated them, particularly at scrum time.
It was too little too late, however, as Scotland built on their slender 3-0 half-time lead before delivering the knockout blow by scoring a converted try when they were down to 14 players on the hour mark.
"Look, I don't think we were in the game really," Griggs conceded.
"Scotland started off a lot better.
"We were lucky to be only 3-0 down at half-time. We didn't fire a shot.
"It was a little bit of preparation and making sure that we are switched on and focused on all of our small details.
"Our preparation wasn't quite as good.
"I don't think we really played rugby until the 76th-minute where we actually started to put some phases together."
"Scotland deserved the win, we didn't execute our basics well enough," Fitzpatrick conceded.
"It's really important that we bounce back, even mentally, for the girls who are continuing on next year.
"We want to finish with a performance that we are proud of," she added.
Doing so in England, against one of the best teams in the world, will be a mammoth task to say the least.