Ireland fought back from being 17-0 and 20-7 down to almost pull off an unlikely win. Afterwards, O'Driscoll said: "When we got within three points of them we felt we had them on the rack.
"I'm sure it wasn't vintage rugby and the stats will show there were a lot of scrums for knock-ons.
"We have always known that if we can put phases together we are capable of beating any team in the world. It showed the fighting spirit of the side to come back, but it would be a lot easier if we weren't 17 points down."
Jerry Flannery and Andrew Trimble congratulate Paul O'Connell on scoring Ireland's opening try at Eden Park. It was the Munster lock's fifth Test try and first since he scored as captain against Scotland in the 2005 RBS 6 Nations.
New Zealand winger Joe Rokocoko leaps to claim the ball just ahead of the lurking Shane Horgan.
Brian O'Driscoll puts pressure on New Zealand winger Doug Howlett as he tries to put his side on the attack.
Bustling out-half Luke McAlister gets the better of his opposite number as he breaks Ronan O'Gara's tackle on the way to scoring the Test-clinching try in the 71st-minute.
A disappointed Brian O'Driscoll after the final whistle at Eden Park.
Following New Zealand's record-equalling 18th consecutive home win, All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw said: "It was a real old test and we had to grind it out. Ireland fought back and put us under pressure so we're happy to get away with the win. It was a bit slippery out there."
Shane Horgan sporting a head wound after another bruising encounter with the All Blacks.
Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan said: "Games like tonight give you a lot of confidence that you can stay with teams like New Zealand. I wouldn't panic about having to play the All Blacks then."
**All photos by Billy Stickland of Inpho Photography**