By Grainne McGuinness and Shaun Cronin
Dominic Ryan's senior debut for Ireland against Georgia yesterday was marred by an ugly stamp to his eye, but the flanker played down the incident in his post-match interview.
Viktor Kolelishvili's boot appeared to make clear contact with the young Leinster player's face several seconds after the whistle was blown during the first-half, but Ryan gave the Georgian the benefit of the doubt.
"I don't know if it was intentional, I doubt it was intentional to be honest.," Ryan said. "It might have been a bit reckless."
Ireland's captain on the day Eoin Reddan asked the ref to review the footage but was refused.
Ryan was philosophical about it in the post-match interview, saying: "He(the ref) said it couldn't go to the big screen, and ah sure look, that's rugby."
He felt the most important thing was that the Ireland team responded, not with petulance, but redoubled efforts on the field.
"They were a physical team and physical teams can be like that, arms thrown or you know, niggly stuff like that," he said.
"We just made sure our discipline today was good and we didn't get involved.
"We didn't react to it. It's a big thing that Joe(Schmidt) drives amongst the team. The best way to react to that kind of behaviour is to score a try; that was our comeback."
Ryan would not apportion blame to his opponent, but by his own admission it was a frightening moment.
"Well it was just that it was directly in my eye," he said. "But as I said, I don't think it was intentional, I think it was a mistake. He was just coming through the ruck so I can't hold anything against him."
He admitted his first Ireland cap was a nerve-wracking experience.
"Yeah, I was very nervous, it was like waking up on Christmas morning - today's the day," he described.
"I got butterflies and the anthems were fantastic and then it was just back into rugby from there."
The 24-year-old said the day was to be relished as he very aware Ireland caps are not to be taken for granted.
"They mightn't come often, they might be years apart. It's a big day for me and I just cherish the first cap."