Ireland ended their Six Nations on a high note as they defeated Scotland 35-25 in an entertaining contest at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
Joe Schmidt's men lost their grip on the title after failing to win their first three matches, but they followed up last weekend's 58-15 battering of Italy with a deserved win in Dublin.
Tries from CJ Stander and Keith Earls answered Jonathan Hogg's fine solo score to help Ireland to 21-13 half-time lead.
Conor Murray and Devin Toner then scored either side of Richie Gray's try for Scotland and, despite Alex Dunbar's late consolation, Ireland held on for the win.
Scotland's progress has been evident throughout the tournament, but their quest to win three consecutive Six Nations matches for the first time was undone despite a valiant showing.
They trailed 9-3 early thanks to the boot of Jonathan Sexton, who became his country's second-highest points scorer in the process, while Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw surpassed 500 Test points.
But Ireland were caught cold by a brilliant individual try from Hogg, the full-back arcing through a gaping hole to run in from 35 metres.
John Barclay, who led Scotland out on his 50th appearance, was sent to the bin for repeat offences in the ruck, though, and Ireland took advantage - the TMO ruling Stander had grounded from close range after lengthy deliberation.
Ireland had a second try when poor communication between Hogg and Tommy Seymour allowed Earls to scoop up Sexton's kick on the left wing and score on his 50th cap.
Early second-half pressure yielded more points when Conor Murray scored after a clever pick-and-go at the line.
Scotland hauled themselves back into the match when, after several plays, Ireland ran out of numbers and Jonny Gray scored under the posts.
Ireland quelled the comeback and another yellow card, this time for Dunbar's reckless tackle on Sexton, halted Scotland's progress and Toner finished under the posts having earlier won the Irish line-out.
Dunbar returned to reduce the arrears in the closing stages, but it was too little, too late for the visitors.
Key Opta stats:
- The 60 points scored in this fixture was the third most in a match between these two sides and the most since 2002 (65 – Ireland 43-22 Scotland).
- In fact, Scotland's 25 points was the most scored by a losing team against Ireland since 2000 (Ireland 27-25 France).
- Sexton scored 15 points in this game and in the process became Ireland’s second top point scorer in Test history (574), overtaking David Humphreys (560).
- Laidlaw became the third player to reach 500 Test points for Scotland.