After going close to a significant Six Nations win with 14 men, Iain Henderson was all too aware that close was all it was.
After two months without any rugby because of a knee injury, the Ulster skipper found himself thrust into yesterday's 21-16 reverse to Wales after only 23 minutes.
By the time he made his earlier than anticipated return to action when replacing the injured James Ryan, his team-mates had already weathered 10 minutes playing a man down.
Peter O'Mahony's early red card left Ireland with a mountain to climb and, while they took up the challenge gallantly, Henderson expected nothing less.
"If someone asked me before the game if someone got a card early on I would have expected everyone to dig in the way they did," he said. "That's the type of group that we are, that is the type of friends we have become. That shows in our training.
"Johnny (Sexton) just spoke about how frustrating it is to show glimpses of what we are going to become. Now we have got to start playing like the team we can become.
"I was excited to see us get a full rattle at a game (here). It was frustrating not to have 15 players so I look forward to it when we do get that chance.
"Obviously it is frustrating (to lose) but it would be even more frustrating if we were down by 20 points.
"You've got to go back and look at what we have done well. The first weekend of rugby in the Six Nations has shown us three very different but very exciting games of rugby.
"Next weekend will give a huge pointer in what direction the tournament is going to go and how teams are shaping up against each other."
Henderson played when Ireland faced a similar challenge to beat South Africa back in 2016 despite CJ Stander's early red and admitted memories of that day did surface in Cardiff.
"It definitely crept into the back of my mind when Pete went off but a lot of the team from that day aren't in this squad," he added. "The guys who were there had a similar feel about what we did then and what we had to do (here).
"The guys who were out there showed a similar attitude and similar pride in wearing the jersey to try and perform a man down against what was a quality Welsh side.
"We are going to go back and look at the opportunities we had. We'll be saying these are the opportunities we are creating with 14 men on the pitch, imagine if we had 15."