Ulster head coach Brian McLaughlin had mixed emotions after his side’s narrow victory over Magners League Champions Munster.
McLaughlin’s men ran out 15-10 winners at Ravenhill to move within three points of the reigning champions after 10 games of the regular season.
A brace of Simon Danielli tries saw Ulster lead by more than two scores before Munster hit back to make the game far closer than McLaughlin would have liked.
And while the head coach was delighted to start 2010 with a win, he couldn’t hide his disappointment that the margin of victory wasn’t greater than it proved to be.
"We had one smashing try from a lineout, one great piece of opportunism from Simon Danielli and a penalty to put us 15-0 up, but we didn’t kick on from that which was very, very disappointing," said McLaughlin.
"You’ve got to give credit to Munster for the way they played, the way they put us under pressure in the first half after they were 15-0 down.
"They stuck at it and came back at us, which Munster sides always do; it’s never over until the referee blows his whistle. They had a very young team out and I think they can be very proud of their display."
McLaughlin may have been frustrated with the manner of his side’s performance but he certainly wasn’t disappointed with the end result.
A sixth loss of the Magners League season would have seen the Ulstermen languishing at least six points outside the play-off places with eight games left to play but victory has given them renewed hope of claiming a second Magners League crown.
"Usually when we don’t perform at our optimum level, we lose,” added McLaughlin.
“It was a step forward for us; it wasn’t nice rugby, it was difficult conditions on the hard ground but we stuck at it and we’ve come away with four points.
"The great thing was we hung in there. I’m really pleased that we played ugly and won. Last week, we played exceptionally well against Leinster and got nothing out of it.
"In general our defence was good and certainly we knuckled down in the last 10 minutes under ferocious pressure and came away with the win so from that point of view I’m very, very happy.”