The Test in Dublin was the Leinster centre's seventh game against New Zealand in an Irish jersey and he led the Lions into battle in their first Test in 2005. In was also his 50th game as Irish captain.
Yet still it was Richie McCaw's world ranked No 1 side that took the honours as they triumphed 22-3 to maintain their proud boast of never having lost to Ireland since the side's first met way back in 1905.
An error-strewn game seemed to be heading into a stalemate at the interval after Dan Carter had managed to hit the mark only once with three penalty attempts in the opening 40 minutes and opposite number Ronan O'Gara had kicked his sole goal attempt from 48 metres.
But the half ended in controversial fashion with South African referee Mark Lawrence awarding the visitor's a penalty try when Irish wing Tommy Bowe pushed the ball out of play as McCaw tried to latch on to a neat chip through by Ma'a Nonu.
After consulting with the TMO, Lawrence not only ran to the posts to award the penalty try, but also sent Bowe to the sin-bin. Carter added the conversion and instead of heading into the break at 3-3, the Irish were seven points adrift.
Two tries in the space of six minutes in the third quarter then gave New Zealand an even more commanding lead. Nonu pounced for the first, which Carter converted, and then lock Brad Thorn powered over for the second.
There were no more points in the final 30 minutes as the All Blacks closed out the second leg of their Grand Slam tour.