Dundalk manager Vinny Perth admitted his side weren't their "fluent selves" during their FAI Cup final loss to Shamrock Rovers but insisted the loss wouldn't define their season. 

The Oriel Park club were seeking to become the first team since Derry City in 1988-89 to complete the domestic treble, after winning the EA Sports Cup back in September and polishing off a fifth league title in six years with several games to spare last month. 

However, they fell short at the final hurdle in Lansdowne Road this afternoon, losing 4-2 on penalties to a Shamrock Rovers team who deserved to win on the balance of play over the course of the 120 minutes. 

Perth, whose team were missing last year's match-winner Patrick McEleney through injury and midfield general Chris Shields through an entirely avoidable suspension, was relatively philosophical afterwards, admitting that Dundalk lacked their normal fluency in attack but stressing that it had been a wonderful season for the club. 

"That's cup football," he told RTÉ Sport after the game. "To win doubles or trebles, you've got to have everything go your way Today, it just didn't.

"But we've luck as well at different stages of the season. We've just got to take that one on the chin and move on. 

"We weren't our fluent selves in terms of attacking threats. But I thought in extra-time, our fitness levels were much stronger and we got control of the game back. But listen, we've got to go again and dust ourselves down. 

"We were completely disjointed in midfield. We have been like that all season. It's been like that. We have to fix that part of our squad. Mind you, we've a lot of players where we haven't had them fit all season. 

"Our season is not over, we've Linfield home and away next week. I said before the game that I am very proud to lead this club into the final, and very proud to lead it out of the final. 

"It's one of the great seasons of all time, just disappointed it didn't go our way."

In seeking to complete the treble, Perth was aiming to emulate legendary manager Jim McLaughlin, who guided four different clubs to a combined eight leagues titles between 1976 and 1992, and who won the entire domestic set at his native club, Derry City back in '89. 

Perth suggested that many people would find it hard to stomach that he would have achieved the feat in his first season.  

"I know they were lighting candles in Derry. I suppose some people might have choked on their Sunday evening sandwiches if Vinny Perth had won a treble. But look, everything has to go your way and it shows how difficult it is to achieve that. 

"Only the great Jim McLaughlin has done it, I can live with that. He's a special man. I'll take it on the chin. 

"It's been a wonderful season for this club. Today is not a season defining moment, it's just one of those things that didn't go our way."