Connacht's European adventure was ended on Friday night by the boot of Jonny Wilkinson as he kicked 14 points in a 19-12 Toulon Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final victory.
Wilkinson’s haul was added to a controversial first-half try by Mafileo Kefu to book the French sides place in next month’s showpiece.
And this defeat was double disappoint for Connacht as they now need Leinster or Munster to be crowned European champions if they are to appear in next season’s Heineken Cup.
But it was the Irish side who took a brief early lead at Galway’s Sports Ground through an Ian Keatley penalty when Juan Fernandez Lobbe had been caught offside.
Wilkinson and Keatley then exchanged kicks to see the scores at 12-9 in favour of the visitors going into nearly ten minutes of first-half injury time.
During this disputed period Toulon pressured the hosts and were rewarded when Australian scrum-half Matt Henjak put centre Kefu in under the posts with Wilkinson converting for a 19-9 lead at the interval.
And despite all their pressure in the second-half, Connacht could only add another Keatley penalty to the score.
But Connacht boss Michael Bradley was proud of his team’s effort in his final home game in charge of the westerners.
He said: “I think first of all it was a great day for Connacht. The ground and the place and the people - everything was set up for a famous day.
“In cup matches we need to learn at this level to take our chances, and I think we had three or four chances in the second half in particular, five yards from their line, and got nothing out of any of them.
“It was a magnificent effort by the forwards, in particular, to sustain the volume of pressure in that corner and then to cough up. A slight of hand and a bit of footwork by Kefu was disappointing.
“We lost the game by seven points, and there were plenty of opportunities there.”