There were mixed emotions for the family of Irish rugby stars Rob and David Kearney, who came so close to rewriting the history books on Sunday afternoon against the All Blacks.
Both the Cooley brothers excelled in a game in which Ireland ultimately fell short 22-24 to a relentless New Zealand team intent on a 2013 clean sweep.
“It’s mixed emotions really,” said proud dad David Kearney Snr.
“It was a lovely moment to see them shoulder to shoulder so to speak.
“They’re both gutted obviously,” he continued, adding that he saw them just after the game.
“They were really gutted. ”
It was a nerve racking afternoon for Mr Kearney Snr and his wife Siobhan, watching the two brothers starting their first Ireland match together, only the fourth set of Irish brothers to do so.
“I suppose you don’t get too carried away, anything can happen in a game, good, bad or indifferent. It’s more a case of hoping all goes well and they come off safe and sound,” explained David Kearney.
“It could have been such a historic day, it was so close with 40 seconds to go, it looked as if we might have won it.
“It’s happened us before, it’s happen to a lot of teams in sport: you think you’re nearly there and your mind just says please God, please God, then your bad feelings come to frutition.
“You’re sitting there, as nervous as can be, until you hear the final whistle.”
One of the highlights of the game was Rob Kearney’s breakaway try, which saw the one time Dundalk RFC and Cooley Kickhams player outpace the New Zealand cover defence to score Ireland’s third try of the afternoon.
“The try probably only took, what, six or sevens seconds, and after one or two seconds you could see that none of the back three are near and that there was only the number 8, albeit Kieran Read, chasing him down.
“He has good enough pace. Rob knew that once he got a yard on someone, you’re not going to catch him in the length of the pitch.”
“Going forward they can get so much out of this. It will be very hurtful for them but when they analyse it in the next week or two, I’d say they’ll really be looking forward to getting back into camp next January for the Six Nations.”
Mr Kearney Senior is upbeat about the Joe Schmidt era.
“Joe said had they been three points behind and had a choice of a kick at goal or going for a win, I think they would have gone for the win.”
“It’s really an exciting time for Irish rugby,” he concluded.