There was absolutely no disguising the disappointment in the Munster dressing room on Friday night following the British & Irish Cup defeat to Llanelli.
A first defeat at home for this squad, it ended 15-13 to the visitors thanks to five penalties from the boot of out-half Steven Shingler, Munster's frustration all the more heightened by the fact that they missed a penalty from the 22 and in front of the posts in the final minute of the game.
On a perfect night for football, the Waterford night air was punctuated with two dominant noises, the sirens from the nearby road as ambulance and Garda cars dealt with a traffic accident and the more persistent sound of referee Dave Walker's whistle.
On the one hand, the sirens soon quitened but the other noise remained a constant and on two occasions it signaled ten minute breaks for Munster players. Peter O'Mahony saw yellow first in the 31st minute – moments after Llanelli lock Adam Shingler had returned to the fray having served his ten minute sentence – and then captain Dave Foley was sent to the line with a mystified look on his face.
He got his yellow in the 72nd minute to see Munster chase the game with 14 men at a time when they held a slender 13-12 lead. But then as they pressed on the Llanelli 22, they turned over possession with Llanelli kicking downfield and forcing the penalty for Shingler to kick the winning points. That break-out could just as easily ended in a try so Munster can really have no quibbles with the outcome.
They lost the experienced Danny Barnes in the 38th minute with an elbow injury but scored the only try of the night in the 22nd minute through Sean Henry with Declan Cusack's conversion added to his earlier penalty giving them a 10-3 interval lead.
An early second half Shingler penalty made it 10-6 but Munster's seven pint advantage was almost immediately restored when Cusack was on target from distance form the restart.
Shingler penalties in the 51st and 62nd minutes left just a point separating the sides before the out-half grabbed the lead and in the final minute, with Cusack on the bench with cramp, Conor Murray drifted his penalty just wide.
Afterwards coach Anthony Foley spoke of, "a certain difficulty understanding the interpretation by the referee, but look," he said, "we didn't play well. We've made it difficult on ourselves losing at home, but we'll dust ourselves off and get on with it."
Munster: Sean Scanlon; Danny Barnes (Ronan O'Mahoney 38 min), Ivan Dineen, Troy Smith, Simon Zebo; Declan Cusack (Gareth Quinn McDonagh 61 min), Conor Murray; Dave Ryan (D Hurley 79 mon), Sean Henry (Mike Sherry 49 min), Darragh Hurley (Stephen Archer 59); Dave Foley capt, Ian Nagle (Dave O'Callaghan 77 min); Billy Holland, Tommy O'Donnell (Paddy Butler 65 min), Peter O'Mahony.
Llanelli: Dan Newton (Liam Williams); Jonny Lewis, Nick Reynolds, Chris Keenan, Justin James; Steven Shingler, Gareth Davies (Aled Davies); Matthew Monghan, Rhys Lawrence (Craig Hawkins), Aled Hopkins; Adam Powell capt, Adam Shingler; Matthew Gilbert (Duane Eager), Nicholas Cudd, Ben Morgan.