And it was the home side who made all the running in the opening half, at the end of which they led 16-7, thanks to a well worked Kevin Maggs try and the rest of the points coming from the boot of the immaculate David Humphreys.
Chris Jack scored the All Black's try in the 35th minute with Andrew Mehrtens converting.
Then, right at the start of the second half Ireland went even further ahead when Denis Hickie scored in the left corner after good approach work by Brian O'Driscoll.
But then the Blacks responded in devastating fashion. Tries from Reuben Thorne, Doug Howlett and new cap Aaron Mauger, in the space of ten minutes, put the visitors in front (24-26) and Jonah Lomu weighed in with a try in the 62nd minute, Mehrtens again on target with the conversion, to put eleven points between the sides.
It was really all up by then as the All Blacks controlled matters and their fifth try of the half arrived courtesy of Howlett in the 74th minute.
To their great credit Ireland never gave in and they were rewarded with a try at the death, appropriately from Eric Miller, who had been outstanding throughout.