Ronan O'Gara feels Ireland have regained some credibility with their agonising 26-21 RBS 6 Nations defeat by France - but he refuses to celebrate failure.
A stunning fightback inspired by their pack and assisted by some strange substitutions from Les Bleus swept the Irish to the brink of victory.
O'Gara stroked over a penalty with two minutes to go and their unstoppable momentum put Ireland in position to land the decisive blow, but the ball ran dead.
Had there been just a fraction more time on the clock, they would surely have been celebrating only their second triumph in Paris since 1972.
The reputation of Irish rugby has taken a fearful battering since their meltdown after last year's RBS 6 Nations, a slump that reached its nadir at the World Cup.
O'Gara, who according to skipper Brian O'Driscoll delivered a stirring team speech on the eve of the match, believes the performance has restored some pride in the national side.
But the Munster fly-half, who finished with 11 points, insists any satisfaction is muted by the outcome.
"I have to keep some things private in terms of what I said by way of motivation," he said.
"We've been trying to get credibility back in the Irish team and we hadn't managed to do that.
"Against France we took a step in the right direction but this team needs a win. It's been a long time since Ireland have produced a satisfying performance like that.
"I asked the players to be honest and I thought we were honest yesterday. But now we need to kick on.
"At Munster I'm used to winning and I expected to beat France. We're sore at the result and a few of us are very disappointed.
"The fellas aren't happy - we were beaten again in Paris and that was the bottom line. We did perform but I'm not content with a morale-boosting performance - I play sport to win.
"We're our own worst enemies at times because we need to start believing in ourselves.
"There are some quality players in the team. The potential is there, we just need to start believing in ourselves and kick on."
Ireland looked finished by the 52nd minute when Cedric Heymans raced over for a fortuitous converted try that sent France 26-6 ahead.
Vincent Clerc had done the telling damage by plundering a blistering first-half hat-trick that underlined his status as the most dangerous back in Europe.