Leinster prop Reggie Corrigan claims Ireland's reaction to Saturday's 26-19 defeat by France is evidence of their emergence as a major force in Test rugby.
Ireland were despondent as they surveyed the wreckage of their Grand Slam dream following another dramatic encounter in this year's gripping RBS 6 Nations Championship.
Their gloomy faces bore more resemblance to a team staring down the barrel of wooden spoon humiliation than one which retains a magnificent chance of being crowned tournament kings.
They can still pip Wales - who they meet at the Millennium Stadium this weekend - to the title.
And Corrigan insists the despair of Saturday's defeat must be consigned to history.
''We were devastated after losing to France and that is a sign of far how we have come in recent years,'' he said.
''In the past Ireland would have been delighted to be at the stage where they could win a Triple Crown.
''The fact that we are so disappointed that the Grand Slam is now over for us proves our ambition and shows the self-belief we have.
''The defeat is a blow but we have to get over it as quickly as possible. We have to try and pick ourselves up and move on.
''We can defend our Triple Crown against Wales and, of course, the championship is there to be won.''
Ireland were touted as pre-tournament favourites, but France were superior in virtually very department at Lansdowne Road.
Up front they steamrollered the smaller Irish pack, while their backs were more inventive, with centres Yannick Jauzion and Benoit Baby leading the assault on Irish Grand Slam ambitions.
It was an accomplished French performance and Corrigan, whose side trailed 18-9 at half-time, admitted Les Bleus got their tactics spot-on.
''Nothing at all seemed to go our way while everything they tried worked. I wouldn't say they were exceptional but they did play very well,'' he said.
''They played a cute game into the wind in the first half. Their forwards mauled the ball well. We went at them in the second half but it was just one of those days.
''We were not that down at half-time in the dressing room, we just knew we had to have a crack at them and that is what we did in the second half.''
O'Driscoll touched down with eight minutes to go, to give Ireland hope of snatching victory - they trailed by just two points - but Christophe Dominici crossed late on to effectively end the contest.
Corrigan said: ''When we fought our way back to 21-19 I thought we had them and we were going to complete the comeback and win it.
''You could see the lift throughout the whole team when O'Driscoll scored. But their late try killed us off.''