O’Shea was gracious in defeat after Quins failed to reach the semi final.
Conor O’Shea challenged Harlequins to use Munster’s Heineken Cup history as inspiration for the future as his dreams of a historic treble faded away with a tight defeat.
Munster made a record-equalling tenth Heineken Cup semi-final with a 18-12 victory at The Stoop thanks to six Ronan O’Gara penalties.
O’Shea confessed the Irishmen’s physicality was far superior and was gracious in defeat after Quins failed to reach their first ever Heineken Cup semi-final.
“The better side won. They won the breakdowns and the collisions and we are bitterly disappointed,” O’Shea said.
“We have to take a bit of time but I said to the guys that they have to learn from the journey that Munster went on (before winning their first Heineken Cup title).
“Sometimes you are driven by that hurt. We did not play the way we could today – we were not allowed to play because Munster bossed the second half.”
Quins now focus their attention on securing an Aviva Premiership semi-final, but O’Shea took time to hail the performance of Ireland lock Paul O’Connell after the match.
The 2009 British and Irish Lions captain was named man-of-the-match and, with Warren Gatland in the stands, staked a claim for selection on this year’s tour.
“I thought Paul O’Connell was absolutely majestic,” O’Shea added.
“The whole team was physical but he was the totem that the whole team just rose around.
“He is arguably one of the greatest second rows if not the greatest second row that Ireland has ever produced.
“He was absolutely magnificent and as the team rallied around him you could see he was the focal point.”