England 24 Ireland 28
Jamie Noon has issued a defiant riposte following England's latest miserable Six Nations Championship flop, by saying: "We haven't got time to sit around licking our wounds."
While Twickenham conquerors Ireland jigged away to celebrate a second Triple Crown in three seasons, England could only reflect on another campaign scarred by crushing under-achievement.
The world champions failed to improve on last year's fourth-place finish, again losing three successive matches and suggesting the 2007 Webb Ellis Trophy defence in France could prove little more than a token gesture.
Unlike the error-strewn Six Nations defeats against Scotland and France, though, England could justifiably claim Brian O'Driscoll and company really did enjoy the luck of the Irish.
Two appalling decisions by touchjudges Rob Dickson and Nigel Owens cost England everything in a rip-roaring contest decided at the death by wing Shane Horgan's second try.
Horgan's first touchdown owed its existence to an astonishing blunder from Dickson, who failed to raise his flag despite the ball being on the line - and therefore out of play - as Ireland's most potent attacker kicked past his leaden-footed opposite number, Ben Cohen.
Then, midway through the second period, Owens called back Cohen after he took a quick throw to himself, claiming he was in-field as opposed to being behind the touchline. It proved another damagingly dodgy call and Ireland scored from the ensuing line-out.
England had two tries disallowed against Ireland in Dublin last season, which prompted head coach Andy Robinson to launch a blistering verbal attack on match referee Jonathan Kaplan.
On this occasion, Robinson engaged in a bout of diplomatic tongue-biting, although England's sense of injustice was never far from the surface.
On the other hand, it is also a sound argument to suggest that any team that leads three times at home -which England managed 5-0, 18-14 and 24-21 - really ought to win the match.
"We made improvements, definitely; we played most of the rugby, but we have come away with nothing," said try-scorer Noon, whose evening lasted only 27 minutes before a head wound forced him off.
"You have just got to bite your tongue, really. The play-ers were very disappointed at a couple of decisions they thought they should have received but the referee (Welshman Nigel White-house) has not given them.
"The feeling is one of frustration. Ireland were struggling at times and they had to work very hard for the win.
"It just goes to show we've got a good strong squad of players - it is just a matter of turning up and limiting the number of mistakes we are making.
"Finishing fourth in the championship for England is very disappointing, but we haven't got time to sit around licking our wounds."
The lead changed hands five times, with Horgan (2) and No 8 Denis Leamy claiming touchdowns for Ireland as they completed a hat-trick of victories over England for the first time in 30 years.
They could also reflect on a highest-ever points total against England, despite the world champions staying in touch through scores by Noon, after just 77 seconds and lock Steve Borthwick, who bagged his first Test match try.
Fly-half Andy Goode slotted 14 points but opposite number Ronan O'Gara landed 13, including the last-gasp conversion that put England out of drop-goal reach in a desperate injury-time attempt to steal the match.
England have now lost eight of their 15 Six Nations matches since the World Cup while Robinson's success rate stands at only 50 per cent over 16 Tests, statistics that will intensify pressure on him.
"Obviously, it is very frustrating," Robinson said. "I thought the performance of the side was very good throughout with a tremendous start and I cannot understand how a touchjudge can award a try as it was.
"He (Horgan) was standing on the other side of the line and the ball was on the line. There was no doubt, it wasn't even 50-50. It allowed Ireland back into the game and I am absolutely staggered by that.
"We've given them two tries, the first one, then the second when Ben Cohen took a quick throw-in and the other touchjudge pulled him back for no apparent reason.
"We've lost the game by four points. It is a small margin but nothing really went our way. I couldn't fault the effort of our players.
"International rugby can change very, very quickly and the momentum of the game can swing on decisions that are made," he added.
"I felt we were on the wrong end of a number of decisions and that is disappointing. Credit to Ireland, though, because they came here, took their chances and played well."
Ireland's thrilling win ensured that France - conquerors of Wales in Cardiff -were crowned Six Nations champions.
England will rue the fact they conceded 16 turnovers and lost four line-outs - double the Irish statistics in both departments - but Robinson can also point to encour-aging performances from Goode and centre Stuart Abbott ahead of this summer's two-Test Australia tour.
The home scrum had Ireland wilting, yet the visitors possessed a far more threatening back division and they could conceivably have gained a more conclusive triumph, had O'Driscoll not bombed a glorious chance by failing to find his unmarked midfield colleague, Gordon D'Arcy, with England's line beckoning.
It was fast, furious and often fractious but England came up short - as seems to be the case all too often these days .