Ulster’s stand-in skipper Alan O’Connor does not believe that the side’s confidence will be unduly dented by Saturday’s 18-13 defeat to Munster.
With their southern neighbours reduced to 14 men early in the game after Simon Zebo was sent off for a high hit on Mike Lowry, a first win in Thomond Park since 2014 felt there for the taking but Munster were the better side after the red card.
A late try from Alex Kendellen was just reward for their efforts a man down with Ulster left to rue an inability to break their opponents down and Thomas Ahern’s impact upon their line-out.
Dan McFarland’s side have at least bounced back impressively from losses so far this season, beating Leinster in the RDS the next time out after a thumping at the hands of Connacht and winning in Clermont seven days on from a loss at Ospreys.
With a pivotal Champions Cup game to come against Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens on Sunday afternoon, it is imperative for their European hopes that Ulster respond in kind once again.
"Every game is different,” said O’Connor on how his side must flush this bad feeling quickly. “This one definitely stings because if you were to say we were playing against 14 men for a good bit of the game, you’d say we’d come away with the win.
“We won’t let that impact the rest of the season or the next two games, we’ll take our learning from it and rebuild.
"You can’t feel sorry for yourself because if you do going into Europe you are probably going to get another loss. It is going to be tight up there so we’ll have to see how we go. We have definitely started well and the next two weeks are going to be really important.”
While Tadhg Beirne was in supreme form, young second-row Ahern made his impact felt too by plucking an Ulster line-out from the air in the second-half just when the visitors looked set to get their maul rolling again.
“They got a good lineout steal,” admitted O’Connor. “They had two in the first-half and they mixed up how they were defending a bit so obviously we need to adjust.
“It is hard to put your finger on (what went wrong) but they adjusted well, even though they had a man less and the conditions were tough to play in.
"I think it was just maybe decision making and I think they actually played quite well.
"Fair play to Munster they dug in and then when we got our yellow card 14 on 14 it was a key part of the game.”