Heading into this World Cup, it was rightly seen as a massive achievement that Ireland had even reached that stage. It was their first time to qualify for the tournament, with the team coming a long way over the last few years.
Of course, the draw made the prospect of advancing beyond the group a few more difficult one. Vera Pauw's team were placed in the 'group of death' alongside Australia, Canada, and Nigeria, with this being without doubt the most talented quartet on show in the event.
Despite all of this, there will be lingering sense of disappointment that Ireland have been eliminated after just two games. They left a number of opportunities behind them in the games against Australia and Canada, ultimately falling to defeat in both fixtures.
Littlejohn makes admission about Ireland World Cup experience
While the chance to play in a World Cup for Ireland will have been a special moment in their career, it's difficult to imagine that those within the group are not very down at the moment
Ruesha Littlehjohn said as much after the game today. Speaking to RTÉ, she admitted that it was difficult to see her World Cup experience as anything other than a disappointment as things stand.
Ruesha Littlejohn lamented the fact that Ireland couldn't have done more when they were on top in the first half against Canada#FIFAWomensWorldCup2023 #rtsoccer #coygig #faiwomen pic.twitter.com/FMCPitUFFr
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) July 26, 2023
I wouldn't say (it was the best Ireland have played). We got caught up in the occasion a bit, I don't think we played great football. We had some good moments, but we would have liked to capitalise more on it at times.
I think they were a bit shaky, a bit rattled. We would have liked to get another goal. At this level you switch and you can see you're going to get punished. That's disappointing...
It's massive, it's so important in football, these moments at the end of the half and start of the second half. They're massive, if you don't learn you're going to get punished.
Here we are, punished again. Hopefully it's going to be a massive learning curve for us moving forward. It's something we're going to have to learn at and get better at...
I know people want me to say (the World Cup experience) has been absolutely amazing. If we had got the points, it probably would have been.
Right now, it's just disappointing. Hopefully in the last game we can get our first three points of the World Cup and we can go away with our heads held high.
Ruesha Littlejohn was at the centre of a controversial incident in the tournament's opening game, refusing to shake hands with Australia's Caitlin Foord before the match. Irish boss Vera Pauw did not want to get drawn into the matter in the buildup to the Canada game, instead just saying how 'proud' she was of her midfielder.
The Ireland players will no doubt reflect fondly on this experience at some point in the future. However, that is something that is difficult to do at the moment.
Here's hoping that they can end the campaign on a high against Nigeria on Monday.