Ireland ran in four tries and put Scotland to the sword with a polished all round display to win 32-14 at the Aviva stadium on Saturday evening.
Tries from captain Rory Best, Eoin Redden, Andrew Trimble and Fergus McFadden put the seal on a fine performance from Ireland that was noteworthy for the ruthless manner in which Ireland converted their scoring opportunities.
Having started sluggish in the opening 10 minutes it was Rory Best, leading Ireland for the third time, who got Ireland’s first try of the game.
It was from Best’s line out that provided the platform. The ball was recycled with impressive quickness and it was the hooker who powered over the line.
Jonny Sexton, nailed the conversion from a tight angle and gave Ireland a one point lead, having fallen behind to an earlier Greig Laidlaw penalty.
Scotland impressed in the opening period. Richie Gray, in particular, impressed with his physicality at the breakdown and with ball in hand.
While Scotland had the lions share of the ball they moved across Ireland rather than behind them. Grey did try to punch holes in the Irish defence but was met by brick walls known as Stephen Ferris, Jamie Heaslip and Peter O’Mahony, who starred in his first start for Ireland.
Having been nudged further into the lead by Sexton, Ireland got their second try of the game on the half hour after scrum half Eoin Redden showed speed of feet and mind to wrong foot the entire Scottish defence to give Ireland a 17-9 lead.
That lead was cut in dramatic style five minutes when Grey burst through the Irish defence to cut the lead to three points.
Ireland responded in tremendous fashion. After some excellent play from Stephen Ferris and Rob Kearney, the ball ended up in the arms of Andrew Trimble who muscled his way over the line on the stroke of half time to send in Ireland 24-9 in at the break.
The second half was a much more scrappy affair. Ireland looked to have secured their fourth try of the game ten minutes after the break. However the TMO ruled that Tommy Bowe had made a double movement when right on the try line.
The crowd had to wait until the ten minutes from time for the first score of the second half. Sexton nailed a tough kick, tight against the far corner, to push Ireland into what looked like a match winning lead.
That victory was confirmed in the 78 minute when Fergus McFadden, on for Gordon D’Arcy who grounded the ball through a wall of Scottish defenders.
It would be one of the final acts of the game as Ireland closed out the game in impressive fashion. Declan Kidney can be pleased with what he saw and can be full of confidence as his side travel to face England in their final Six Nations game next weekend.
Ireland: R Kearney (Leinster); T Bowe (Ospreys), K Earls (Munster), G D’Arcy (Leinster), A Trimble (Ulster); J Sexton (Leinster), E Reddan (Leinster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster, capt), M Ross (Leinster), D O’Callaghan (Munster), D Ryan (Munster), S Ferris (Ulster), P O’Mahony (Munster), J Heaslip (Leinster).
Replacements: S Cronin (Leinster), T Court (Ulster), M McCarthy (Connacht), S Jennings (Leinster), T O’Leary (Munster), R O’Gara (Munster), F McFadden (Leinster).
Scotland : Stuart Hogg, Lee Jones, Nick De Luca, Graeme Morrison, Sean Lamont, Greig Laidlaw, Mike Blair, Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford, Geoff Cross, Richie Gray, Jim Hamilton, John Barclay, Ross Rennie, David Denton.
Replacements : Scott Lawson, Euan Murray, Al Kellock, Richie Vernon, Chris Cusiter, Ruaridh Jackson, Max Evans.