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."
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