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."
Wales and Ospreys back row James King, who came through the North Wales age grade system, nominated North Wales Regional Community Rugby Manager Marc Roberts, in the WRU's 'Diolch' initiative where squad players thanked those who played a part in their rise to the top.
Beating Merthyr has boosted Carmarthen Quins hopes of reaching a top eight spot in the Principality Premiership. Quins captain Haydn Pugh is delighted with his team's progress and is determined that everyone from the Under 6s through to the senior team, enjoys the ride.
When the Wales squad were asked to nominate individuals who played a big part in their early playing days, Wales and Dragons full back and wing Hallam Amos thought of his former Monmouth School rugby coach John Bevan.
Sam Cross and Luke Treharne have been named as co-captains of the Wales Sevens side as head coach Gareth Williams names his 12-man squad to play in the first leg of the HSBC World Series in Dubai next weekend.
Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.
Many of the Wales squad have said Diolch (thank you) to someone who played an important part in their early playing days by nominating them to be invited to the Wales v South Africa match. One person, Gowerton Comprehensive geography teacher Mr Dean Mason was nominated by two of his former pupils, Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.
The second WRU disability rugby pilot has been delivered, this time in Caerphilly schools, culminating in a festival at the Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach tomorrow. Plans are in place to set up a Disability Rugby Club in Newbridge to provide long-term playing opportunities.
WRU TV: Hear from inside the Wales camp as Neil Jenkins discusses this weekend's clash with South Africa and how the squad are looking to put in a strong performance to round of the 2016 Under Armour Series