Cribbin, whose younger brother Paul is also ruled out with a patella tendon injury and clubmate Daniel Flynn with an ongoing hamstring complaint, returned to action with Johnstownbridge last month after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury last year.
There was some inevitable soreness after the initial outing that prevented him going flat out with Kildare for another fortnight but it’s all systems go now.
“I got the operation exactly a year ago so it took me 11 months to get back, which is a bit longer than the normal procedure would be but I developed tendonitis throughout the recovery process,” Cribbin explains.
“I got the Gilmore’s groin done a couple of years ago but that was only out for two months. When I did (the cruciate), it was between the league and championship for Kildare last year, and after putting in a good league campaign (personally), to miss out and seeing the lads go out in championship, it is heartbreaking knowing that you are not going out with them.”
He was in Lanzarote when Kildare beat Cork and after returning, focussed fully on his rehab.
He has played one full challenge match with Kildare in recent weeks and 20 minutes of another.
There was enough evidence from those outings and in what has happened in the five weeks since the Lilies limped past Wexford, to believe the necessary improvement has taken place to clear the next hurdle.
“(Wexford) was a frustrating kind of game because we didn’t play as well as we wanted to and nine points isn’t going to win too many more championship games, regardless of who you are playing. That was our focus. We have to develop more attacking-wise, getting more scores on the board. If we perform that way against Westmeath, it won’t be good enough.
“I would have preferred to come back a little bit earlier and got a few games in the league, bit more game-time into me. But there is a chance to get to a Leinster final and we don’t get there that often.
“Westmeath have momentum on their side, they only played (two weeks ago). I know they got relegated to Division 4 but they got relegated from Division 2 last year and were still able to topple Meath in the championship.
“They will be full of confidence; they will see us as a team with no momentum, having to wait so long in between games. But training has been going very well and we are looking forward to it.”