Ryan Jones said Wales gave it everything they had at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday as they desperate sought a 13 point winning margain to retain the RBS Six Nations Championship.
With a 6-0 half time lead, it looked as if Jones et al would do the impossible and deny Ireland their first Grand Slam for 61 years.
Two second half tries in the space of 60 seconds suddenly put Ireland eight points in the lead, and from that moment Wales were always playing catch up - until a brilliant Stephen Jones drop goal put Wales ahead with just three minutes to play.
But Ronan O'Gara had ideas of his own, he lined up a drop goal with just two minutes remaining and skipper Jones said: "From the moment he kicked it, I thought it was over.
"We gave everything and you can't question the heart or composure this team showed to come back.
And with seconds left on the clock, Wales had a long-range penalty to win the match. And despite Gavin Henson attempting a 57 metre kick earlier in the game, Jones says that Stephen Jones was the right choice to kick at goal.
"There was no mention of Gavin kicking the penalty," he said. "Stephen stepped up to the plate and fancied a crack and he wasn't a million miles off.
"We put our heart and soul into this game and to come so close at the end is very tough to take. But we will have to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off to fight another day."
Wales boss Warren Gatland said: "As far as I'm concerned, the best two teams in the competition were playing here.
"It doesn't matter whether you finish second or fourth, it's all about winning any competition you go into.
"I've already admitted the changes for Italy cost us in terms of points. We're only fourth on points difference, though this defeat hurts."
He added: "The 14 points we conceded in those six minutes hurt and cost us the game. We thought Mark Jones had called a mark in the build up to the first try, but neither the referee nor touch judge heard him and Ireland ended up scoring. But the lineout just didn't function and put us under a lot of pressure."
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Blues strike first in JD III battle - Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs, WRU referee Dylan Llyr Jones and Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees decide dressing room allocations for Judgement Day III
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.
Dodgy tattoos, carthorses, Avatar and soft chins are revealed by Wales Sevens players Tom Williams and Sam Cross as they profile the Wales Sevens squad taking part in Hong Kong this weekend in the latest round of the HSBC Sevens World Series.