STEPHEN RICE hailed the heroes of Shamrock Rovers who struck a blow for domestic game in this country despite last night's Europa League defeat to Tottenham.
The home supporters in the White Hart Lane crowd of 24,782 were stunned into silence when a weakened Spurs side - which still had six senior internationals in the starting XI - fell behind to a Stephen Rice goal on 49 minutes.
A shocked Spurs took an immediate grip on the game and scored three times in six minutes to win the tie 3-1 but after scoring the biggest goal of his career, Rice insisted that the Hoops players can take pride in their night's work.
"We have done ourselves proud, but it's still not nice to lose. I'm massively disappointed that we lost the game, to go 1-0 up and lose 3-1 is a disappointment," Rice said.
"But hopefully now people will sit up and take notice of us and see that we're not just some team who are there to be beaten, we are here on merit.
"We have worked so hard to be here and we have a right to be out there playing against all those great players."