Ireland boss Mark Aston was proud of his players despite a resounding 50-0 World Cup defeat to Australia.
The coach had told his men to live the dream on the eve of the game, but in reality it was more of a nightmare, in front of a record 5,021 crowd at Thomond Park.
"It was always going to be tough. We were playing high-quality opposition," he said.
"But I'm proud of what we served up. They had double the sets we had and the penalty count played a big part. It's hard enough playing the best in the world without not getting the bounce of the ball and the rub of the green.
"But we stuck in, had a dig and showed character."
"We needed to make sure we were loud and proud and we were" - Mark Aston
Aston has previously voiced his frustrations about a lack of players to select from and with the chance a number of his older charges could now retire from the international game, the pool may get shallower still.
The coach is remaining upbeat, though, and insists he will continue to find a solution.
"We'd like a level playing field and we only got together three Saturdays ago," he said.
"There are 48 development officers for rugby union in this area alone. How can we get them to play rugby league? But we will be smart and do what we can.
"Tonight we needed to make sure we were loud and proud and we were."