Sam Bennett fell agonisingly short in his bid to win a first Tour de France stage, pipped on the line by Lotto-Soudal's Caleb Ewan at the end of the third day's riding.
After an uneventful stage, it was set for a bunched sprint finish, with Bennett's Deceuninck - Quick-Step team working hard to keep their sprinter in position.
Bennett looked like taking the victory with 100 metres to ride, but Australian Ewan weaved through the pack to cross the line three-quarters of a bike ahead of the second-placed Tipperary native.
Bennett is striving to be only the sixth Irish rider to win a stage of the Tour de France, after Shay Elliott, Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche, Martin Earley and Dan Martin.
The Carrick-on-Suir native would join Elliott as the only Irish men with stage victories in the three grand tours, the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España.
Fourth in the opening stage on Saturday, 29-year-old Bennett has now suffered two narrow defeats in three days of the tour.
Ewan won three stages on the Tour last year and looks to be the fastest man at this year's race. Julian Alaphilippe retained the yellow jersey.
After the race, Ewan said: "Everyone stayed motivated and we all knew if it all went right, I could win the sprint today."