It was a good night all round for the Matt Williams coched side but a particularly pleasing one for Alan Quinlan whose all round performance won him the Man of the Match award.
On a perfect night for rugby in front of an enthusiastic 7000 crowd, Ireland took the lead when Paul Burke landed a penalty in the fifth minute, a score that was equalised by Andrew Goode just three minutes later. And as Ireland continued to pressure their opponents in every phase they were rewarded with a simple if well orchestrated try in the 10th minute. Burke's penalty had come back off an upright but Ireland were well organised and John Kelly was on hand to skip in for an well worked try and an 8-3 lead. They extended that lead with another Burke penalty but Goode landed his third from four to leave just two points (11-9) separating the sides at half time.
Within minutes of the restart England went in front when Goode knocked over another penalty and the Irish looked in some trouble when Goode added another for a four point lead (15-11). Burke and Goode traded penalties (18-14) before England were reduced to fourteen when their captain and scrum half Nick Walshe was yellow carded. Burke brought his side to within a point of the leaders with a penalty shortly after and then after containing a sustained period of English pressure, Ireland struck for their second try. With Andy Ward on for Victor Costello who had taken a heavy knock in the first half, Ireland raised the siege and broke out down the left touchline. Alan Quinlan made good ground before delivering the scoring pass to Tyrone Howe who raced home. Burke missed the difficult conversion but made amends in the 75t5h minute when he landed a difficult kick from wide on the right to leave seven points (25-18) separating the sides. To their credit ireland ended the game in total control pinning England inside their own 22 until the final whistle sounded.