IRELAND head coach Andy Farrell cut a disappointed figure after Ireland’s 21-16 loss at the hands of Wales on the opening weekend of the Six Nations Championship in Cardiff.
By the same token, it was obvious he was proud of his players’ performance for going so close, despite playing for 70 minutes with only 14 men.
“I don’t know what to think to be honest. I thought we showed a lot of courage to play the way that we played.
"First and foremost, congratulations to Wales. I thought they defended very well. I thought we asked them a lot of questions there with 14 men at times but they defended very well.
“We gave ourselves a chance, right up until the death. There was one or two things that happened within that second half that we will look at. We made a few errors and a few penalties that we gave away that allowed them to clear."
Farrell explained that they had planned for the eventuality of playing with only 14 men, a plan that had to be put into practice after Peter O’Mahony was red-carded in the 13th minute.
“Well, it’s what you do defensively, at the breakdown, and in the backfield, whether it’s one or two, what to do in terms of planning at lineouts, etc.
"You don’t want too much resources wasted at the breakdown and in attack etc.
"It’s all those things.
“But again it wasn’t good enough on the day, but when you assess the performance we asked a lot of questions but we didn’t quite go to the very end."
Farrell no doubt felt that Ireland had Wales’ number, with O’Mahony’s red card being the decisive factor.
“Of course, it takes its toll, doesn’t it?
"At the same time, some of the guys hadn’t played for quite a while. We got some good games out of the lads today.
"We have France coming over, we know the type of form they are in at this moment in time, so it’s a big week for us to turn it around.
"We’ve all been involved in enough Six Nations games to know that the Championship isn’t lost - while the Grand Slam is – we have to win from here on in.
“I think, obviously, we will have learned our lessons, we will dust ourselves off and you know we will see all the good things that we did as well.
"There are questions that we did answer but there are also some things that we need to tidy up and move on and we will give it our best shot next week."