A seven-try win over Georgia moved Ireland's Under-21s up to seventh in the pool standings, giving them a shot at finishing fifth at the IRB U-21 World Championship in France.
IRB U-21 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: Sunday, June 18
IRELAND U-21 47 GEORGIA U-21 0, Stade au Complexe du Mas, Issoire
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Stuart Philpott 2, Duncan Williams, Darren Cave, Fionn Carr, Ian Hanly, Sean Cronin; Cons: Jonathan Sexton 6
In their final pool stage match, Ireland ran out convincing winners over Georgia with hookers Stuart Philpott (2) and Sean Cronin sharing out three tries. An at-odds Georgian outfit were hit for seven as the Irish finally cut loose after deflating defeats to France and Argentina in the past ten days.
The win has booked Mark McDermott's side a re-match with the Argentinians - next Wednesday will see the sides clash in a 6th-7th place play-off at the Stade Darragon in Vichy (kick-off 2.00pm Irish time), with the winners meeting England or Wales in a play-off for fifth on Sunday.
The young Pumas edged out Ireland 26-22 last week in Cournon d'Auvergne.
The Irish will want to curb an ill-disciplined streak which saw four player sent to the sin bin against Georgia - flankers Michael Essex and David Pollock, winger Matthew Williams and captain Philpott all received yellow cards from Argentinian referee Daniel Jabase.
But coach McDermott and his management team will take much from this win. Philpott, one of three members of the current squad to have played at last year's tournament in Durban, bulldozed through for Ireland's opening try after only two minutes. A quick maul showed up the Georgians' lack of organised defence.
St. Mary's starlet Jonathan Sexton, earning his first start of the competition after an injury-disrupted spell, converted. His half back partner Duncan Williams soon sniped over for a second and Sexton converted centre Darren Cave's 26th-minute effort for a 19-0 lead at the break.
Cave's score came straight off the training ground as lineout ball was secured and flashed along the backline for the Belfast Harlequins clubman to cut through a gap between Ivane Sulamanidze and David Gurgenidze and dot down. Cave is the youngest member of the squad - he only turned 19 in April.
...Irish out-half Jonathan Sexton on the attack...
Ireland ended the half with Essex in the bin, and Bristol player Matthew Williams followed suit early in the second half as the referee took a no-nonsense approach at ruck time. However, the attacking threat from the Irish never waned.
Georgia conceded 175 points in their previous two games, and as their heads predictably dropped, Ireland cantered clear with Philpott (48 minutes), full-back Fionn Carr (64) and winger Ian Hanly (79) adding touch downs.
Sexton topped off his 12-point contribution by converting replacement hooker Cronin's dart over in injury-time.
IRELAND U-21: Fionn Carr; Ian Hanly, Darren Cave, Fergus McFadden, Matthew Williams; Jonathan Sexton, Duncan Williams; Michael Diffley, Stuart Philpott (capt), Paul Doran Jones, Daniel Tuohy, David McGowan, Michael Essex, Diarmuid Laffan, Billy Holland.
Replacements used: Matthew D'Arcy for D Williams (half time), Devin Toner for Tuohy (45 mins), David Pollock for Laffan (52), Dave Ryan for Doran Jones (58), Tom Gleeson for Cave (65), Sean Cronin for Essex (73), Conan Doyle for M Williams (75).
GEORGIA U-21: David Gurgenidze; Vakhtang Chikhladze, Ivane Sulamanidze, David Kacharava (capt), Giorgi Mchedlishvili; Irakli Kiasashvili, Giorgi Mjavanadze; Beka Sheklashvili, Giorgi Soselia, Giorgi Jgenti, Merab Gabunia, Lasha Azaladze, Lasha Tavartkiladze, Otari Minashvili, Dimitri Basilaia.
Replacements used: Irakil Chkonia for Soselia (52 mins), Simon Maisuradze for Basiliaia (55), Davit Kubriashvili for Sheklashvili, Giorgi Begadze for Mjavanadze (both 65), Mikheil Archuashvili for Gabunia (72), Irakli Gegenava for Sulamanidze (77). Not used: Luka Kilasonia.
Sin Bin: Essex (33 mins), M Williams (42), Stuart Philpott (69), Pollock (76)
Referee: Daniel Jabase (Argentina)
IRB UNDER-21 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - IRELAND RESULTS/FIXTURES:
Friday, June 9:
France U-21 26 IRELAND U-21 8, Issoire
Tuesday, June 13:
IRELAND U-21 22 Argentina U-21 26, Cournon d'Auvergne
Saturday, June 17:
IRELAND U-21 47 Georgia U-21 0, Issoire
Wednesday, June 21:
IRELAND U-21 v Argentina U-21, Stade Darragon, Vichy, 3.00pm (2.00pm Irish time)
Sunday, June 25:
Matchday 5 - tbc