Gary Connaughton reporting from the Aviva Stadium
Ireland have fallen agonisingly short of Euro 2020 qualification this evening, with a strong performance against Denmark not enough to get all three points in Dublin.
It was a game the Irish probably should have won, having the majority of the chances. The difference was that the visitors scored their only real opportunity of note. Ireland will now go down the route of the perilous Nations League play-offs, which will see two one-legged ties to decide who advances to next summer's finals.
Speaking after the game Mick McCarthy said the play-offs were the farthest thing from his mind, but he was confident if they could repeat tonight's performance in those games:
I've got three months to prepare for that. We will see who get, I'll plan for it when we get it.
Play the way we play, play as well as that against other teams and we can win...
I thought we played well. I said it before the game, if the lads leave everything on the pitch, I'll take that. I've got to take the results, I'm disappointed with that, but that is the only thing I was disappointed with that.
While tonight's performance was certainly encouraging, there is a sense that this has been a mixed campaign. The result in Georgia was especially disappointing, while Ireland failed to impress at various times.
Despite this, McCarthy insists he was not unhappy with any of his team's performances in the group.
I'm here to talk about this performance, this game. I think you've been in any of my press conferences I've not been disappointed with any of them. I've not said that, or been disappointed with players.
They've given me everything...
Sometimes I think you believe we are very shallow and not mentally tough, we have bad performances and bad results all the time yet come back and play well.
You've got to back into it, simple as that, and we've done it. We were terrific tonight, simple as that.
Even though Ireland mounted a valiant charge late on, it was ultimately the Danish goal that made the difference. It came at an especially inconvenient time, with the home side dominating the play and having just made an attacking substitution with the introduction of Callum Robinson.
As McCarthy pointed out, they ultimately weren't clinical enough when on top. He also brushed aside questions that the team played out from the back in a manner he wasn't pleased with, saying it was the plan from the outset.
Look, it's always a kick in the nuts when you concede. Even more so when you're trying to make a positive substitution and trying to get something out of the game, trying to win the game...
How many goals have we scored, seven in eight games? That's quite clearly not clinical enough, but we don't get beaten in too many games.
Maybe a bit of luck or a bounce of the ball at the end and we nick it, who knows? Had we nicked it, we would have deserved it to be honest...
They played exactly the way I asked them to play, the way we have asked them to play. We've got a beautiful surface out there to play on.
We had the two sitting midfield players we could bounce it off and play, that was the plan and how it panned out.
I can assure you that no team of mine would go out there and do what they want, no. We planned it, coached it, and worked on it.
On to March we go...