Rory McIlroy was proud to produce a fighting Irishman’s performance at Fota Island but gutted for the fans as he crashed out of the Irish Open.
The world No 6 missed the cut for the second year running, ending up a shot outside the mark despite a desperate attempt to pull off a miracle.
He groaned: "I tried till the very last shot out there. I was really desperate to make this cut, especially after missing the cut the year before.
"I was grinding on the back nine, trying to hole chip shots and hole putts and to do whatever I could to make the cut."
Four shots outside the cut with nine holes to play, he sensationally eagled the 10th but played the next six in one over to leave himself needing a birdie-eagle finish to survive.
With a massive 24,000 crowd willing on the man who declared his allegiance to Irish golf on Wednesday, he almost pulled it off.
He holed a long bomb for a birdie two at the 17th but couldn’t chip in for an eagle three at the last despite hooking a sensational four-iron bullet through a gap in the trees after a bad drive.
Disappointed for the fans, McIlroy said: "I think every year they deserve an Irish winner. They are the best crowds of the year.
"They are just so supportive, and obviously being Irish, standing ovations on the greens, it's just so nice to be able to play in front of.
"They don't just deserve one this year, they deserve it every year. It's frustrating, I left myself with a lot of work to do after yesterday. Today I made six birdies and an eagle and ended up shooting only two under par, so there's a lot of mistakes in there and a lot of wasteful play.
"I just need to tighten it all up and become a lot more consistent, and just make the bad shots a little bit better and not be as wasteful around the greens. If I can do that, I know my game is right there.
"It’s the second year in a row that I'm not playing the weekend at The Irish Open, it's not a very nice position to be in.
"I don't know what else to say. I'm just very disappointed."
McIlroy was behind the eight ball after his opening 74 and while he made an eagle birdie at the short third and had birdies at the fifth and sixth, there were too many mistakes.
A double bogey seven at the fourth, where he had to go back to the tee after hitting his drive into the trees, left him facing an uphill battle.
Sloppy bogeys at the eighth and ninth put him four over for the tournament but he never gave up and battled right to the end.
Refusing to make excuses, he said: "I look back at every Irish Open really and say that I enjoyed it, but can I look back and say that I played to my potential in any of the ones I've played? Definitely not. Not even close.
"I'd love to be able to produce my best when I come back home, and it hasn't been this year or last year or the previous years, but hopefully I'll start to in the future.
"I went out and really enjoyed it and played and fought for every shot and smiled.
"I would have liked to have gotten a little bit of practice on Tuesday, but obviously clubs didn't arrive till Wednesday morning, so that made it a little difficult.
Was it pressure?
"This week I felt the least pressure ever at an Irish Open. I can't really put it down to anything. It was just one of those weeks."
After playing six events in an eight week spell that saw him win the BMW PGA win and the break off his engagement with Caroline Wozniacki, McIlroy needs to recharge for the Scottish Open and The Open now.
He said: "I've had a busy stretch here with a lot of stuff going on, so it will be nice to have a couple of weeks to regroup and play some links golf."