Click here for photos from Ulster's Heineken Cup Pool 5 defeat to London Irish at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
Picturedabove: Ulster winger Andrew Trimble tries to get past London Irish'sMike Catt, who turned in a man of the match display against MarkMcCall's men, running in an excellent first half try.
Ulsterwere left ruing an unconvincing start at the Madejski Stadium, duringwhich they conceded two converted tries. The province's assistant coachAllen Clarke said: "We started poorly in the first 20 minutes. Our indiscipline allowed London Irish to kick for territory.
"We did get ourselves back into the game. We started believing inourselves, worked through the phases and caused problems but the secondhalf was a huge disappointment. We'll have to learn quickly from whatwent wrong.
"We were disappointed to concede so easily in the second half. Weneeded to be more precise and that's something we'll address for nextFriday."
London Irish's Nick Kennedy gets to grips with Ulster full-back Bryn Cunningham who has Matt McCullough insupport. After their four-try defeat in Reading, Ulster are almostcertainly out of the quarter-final reckoning for another year.
Flanker Neil Best relayed histeam-mates' disappointment at not making the Exiles pay when both DelonArmitage and Justin Bishop were in the sin bin. He said: "Tactically wewere poor and in our execution we ere poor as well, and that cost us.Good sides score points when the opposition are down players and wedidn't do that.
"They scrambled and defended well. They're a good team, or at any ratethey were the better team this time around. Hopefully it will bedifferent scenario back at Ravenhill."
Ulster centre Paddy Wallace is tackled by London Irish's Shane Geraghty and Mike Catt. Afterwards, Ulster coach Mark McCall admittedthat "Geraghty's try (midway through the second half) turned the gameon its head. We knew if we didn't win here we would be virtually out ofthe competition."
McCall\s charges are bottom of the Pool 5 standings, with a haul offive points, with Toulouse (6 points), London Irish (6) and LlanelliScarlets (13) ahead of them.
LondonIrish scrum half Paul Hodgson sends a pass out from a ruck. Ulster bossMcCall, a former Exiles player, is hopeful that his side can endedtheir pool campaign with three good performances, and possibly threewins.
He added: "People will be saying our season is now over, but we are a proud bunch. We still have our Magners League crown to defend and we will be giving it our all in the last three European games.
"We knew that if we didn't win at the Madejski we were effectively out
of the competition. Even so, we still want to win our last three games."
Andrew Trimble ischallenge by London Irish centre Seilala Mapasua, who played for thePacific Islanders in their 61-17 defeat to Ireland at Lansdowne Roadlast month. Ulster assistant coach Allen Clarke was impressed by the burly Samoan, who put in a number of crunching tackles on the visitors' backs.
Clarke said: "Mapasua defended well - we'll give credit where it's due. But we shouldn't have run down his channel so often."
London Irish centre Seilala Mapasua is sent crashing to the deck by Ulster's Paddy Wallace and Paul Steinmetz. The once-capped All Black Steinmetz got over for a try in first half injury-time, his first in the Heineken Cup.
Roger Wilson, Isaac Boss, Neil Best and Rory Best, amongstothers, show their disappointment as the game comes to a close inReading. After Steinmetz's converted try, which brought the score lineto 14-13 in 'Irish's favour, the Ulster dressing room was "buzzing" atthe break, according to Clarke.
He said: "We believed we could go on and win it. But our precision andour accuracy wasn't good enough during the critical period at the startof the second half and the guys are hugely disappointed. Europe is along shot now but we have three games to win and the team wants to winthose games."
David Humphreys looksdistraught after he failed to put his mark on Ulster's Heineken Cupencounter with London Irish. Humphreys was out-played by the Exiles'young number 10 Shane Geraghty, and will see retribution at Ravenhillon Friday.
Neil Best is still holding ontothe notion that Ulster can qualify for the knockout stages. Hereckoneded: "If we beat London Irish at home with a bonus point and dothe same against Llanelli and at Toulouse, which I know soundsfa-fetched, we can still get through. Anything can happen.
"We're bitterly disappointed with this result. Nobody likes playingbadly and thank goodness we've got a week to turn it around."
A glum-looking Justin Harrison headsfor the dressing room after Ulster's ninth successive Heineken Cupdefeat on English soil. Looking ahead to Friday's tie at Ravenhill, theformer Wallaby lock, who boasts nine Heineken Cup caps, is confidentUlster can bounce back.
He said: "We're buoyed by the fact the squad was still positive intraining today (Monday). There is no doubt that there wasdisappointment (after the loss) but it's coupled with what sportprovides you with and that's challenges.
"Everyone meets challenges in different ways and the character of the team will come through in Friday's match." Kick-off in Belfast is 7.30pm.
**All photos by Billy Stickland of Inpho Photography**
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