Ireland and Leinster lock Joe McCarthy has played down the idea that Ireland suffered from a mental block when it came to their quarter-final clash with New Zealand.
Ireland was once again knocked out of a Rugby World Cup at the quarter-final stage after losing 24-28 to the All-Blacks in Paris last month. The loss now means that Ireland has failed to get past that stage of a competition since 1987.
Ireland was well-fancied to break their hoodoo, but that wasn't the case once again. McCarthy, the youngest member of the Irish World Cup squad, does not believe that it came down to a mental issue but put it down to not being 100% on the day.
"Every game like that is going to sting, and you don't forget it quickly, but I don't really think it was a case of a mental block for a quarter-final or anything," McCarthy told RTÉ Sport.
"We weren't 100% for a big game, and if you are like that against quality opposition, it's always going to be tough, so I don't think it's much different from another knockout game really."
A loss like that can hit hard, and for McCarthy, he admits that he didn't know how to react in the following weeks after the loss, but now his focus is on Leinster's United Rugby Championship, starting with the game against the Dragons in Wales this weekend.
"Yeah, I watched the games," he said. "They were definitely tough to watch, knowing you could have been there.
"It was definitely a tough period. It's kind of how it is after you lose a big game and you're out of a tournament. You are quite gutted, you probably feel sorry for yourself for a week or so, and then you have to turn the page quite quickly and go again.
"For the first week or so, I didn't really know what to do with myself.
"The lads are disappointed, but there's a good buzz with everyone back in this week [with Leinster] on Monday, a bit of giddiness, and everyone is getting back on the same page. It's been all right and I'm looking forward to the season ahead."
Leinster's game against the Dragons starts at 1:15pm on Sunday.