Joe Schmidt feels the yellow card to Johnny Sexton was the turning point in their 22-9 loss to Wales in the Six Nations last night.
The out-half was binned for not rolling away at a ruck on the Irish line shortly before half-time.
"The fine margins, I think the yellow card was crucial, 10 points in 10 minutes," Schmidt told reporters in Cardiff after the game.
"I feel a bit sorry for Johnny. He's trapped in by three players and it's very hard to get out but when that happens close to the line that sometimes happens.
“Penalty count of 10-4 and we cop a yellow card, it’s tough but we know in that area it’s always a risk.”
A sub standard performance from Ireland did not go unnoticed by Schmidt, but he admits Wales deserve plenty of credit for their attacking endeavour:
“They attacked well, especially when Johnny went off to get checked out and they went straight through around his area. I think it’s something that we’ll learn from.”