Shane Horgan crushed English spirits with a 79th minute try to seal an Irish Triple Crown and condemn England to yet another Six Nations defeat.
Andy Goode seemed to have made the game safe for England with two fantastic pressure kicks between the 73 and 76th minutes, but Ireland had the final say thanks to Ronan O’Gara’s willingness to attack from within his own 22. O’Gara ran the ball out, chipped ahead, the bounce favoured Brian O’Driscoll, who set off on a fabulous run. O’Driscoll passed to Horgan who was run down right on the English line, but Lewis Moody’s tackle was not enough and the big winger’s outstretched arm was long enough to win the game for Ireland.
Ireland finish the Six Nations join top of the table with France, but lose out on points difference. Ireland had to beat England by 34 points to deny France the championship. The Triple Crown, however, belongs to the Irish thanks to wins against Scotland, Wales and England.
The win was Ireland’s third in succession against England and means that England have lost 13 of their last 24 matches since winning the World Cup in 2003.
It was also their third loss of the Six Nations this year after Scotland and France beat them.
Both teams suffered because of sin-binnings, the English late in the first half and the Irish late in the second half, but it was the Irish counter-attacking brilliance and willingness to risk in a pulsating final two minutes that won them the day.
England: tries: Noon and Borthwick.
Penalties: Goode (4)
Ireland: tries: Horgan (2) and Leamy
Conv: O’Gara (2)
Pens: O’Gara (3)