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At 7.23am the teenagers gave up and went back to bed. It was all over ...

WHERE were you the morning we got the boot in Wellington?

It was to be the most emotional event we have ever experienced in the dark of early morning, the biggest day in Irish rugby history.

It made no difference.

On TV, radio or webstream -- obituaries make the same grim reading.

Early morning is when big journeys begin. This is one that ended, not with a bang or a whimper, or even a crunch.

Clubs opened early. Rugby types gathered and spoke with husky throats.

Teenage children who would not normally be seen until mid afternoon on a Saturday came creeping down the stairs in their PJs.

They all learned about concentration (or lack of concentration).

"Head in hands all over the stadium," the commentator Rule Nugent declared when Sean O'Brien's burst for the line was held up.

"Punch drunk and out of ideas," Ryle said with three minutes to go.

"Nowhere to turn," said Donal Lenihan.

The story of the morning could be told by the teenage decision to go back to bed: at 7.23 am when Bradley Davies scored Wales' second try, a few minutes later when Ireland's subsequent attack broke down.

The diehards held out until the match was over and Tom Jones was being relayed over the tannoy, Delilah, a grim of cacophony of defeat.

The pre-match mood was largely defined by Rory Best's pre-match tweet saying he was up for it.

The match we should have won slipped away from us.

Highlight of the TV coverage was Frankie Sheahan's pre-match impression of Warren Gatland, "smesh them, smesh them."

Trouble is they did.

Frankie Sheehan is wiser than the three-card trick normally in the RTE studio.

"The key moment was when we went to 10-all, and the shoulders went back, we have them here."

"Have they contributed to this tournament? Yes." Brent Pope.

Primarily we were outplayed at back row and out half. That's how you win rugby matches.

We have spent the last four weeks singing the praises of the back row, said McGurk.

"No we didn't, I haven't, I have not changed my tune in yonks," said George Hook.

"The first genuine test of Sean O'Brien and Warburton won that," said Brent Pope.

But it was all too much to take.

Declan Kidney's dignified post match interview was the only saving grace.

Who to blame?

Four players missed Phillips' try, which came from a turnaround in the lineout.

Keith Earls' dad Ger was clear as a sun ripple on the Shannon in his analysis.

"They done their homework on our big ball carriers, and it is very hard to play the game we play from as far behind the game line as we were forced to do."

It was the last word on Ireland.