Ireland start with a bang

Ireland began their Six Nations campaign in style with a 30-21 victory against France on Saturday night. [more]

Ireland start with a bang

Ireland began their Six Nations campaign in style with a 30-21 victory against France on Saturday night.

Declan Kidney’s men scored three tries to secure their first win in seven against the French.

2005 Lions tourist Gordon D’Arcy sealed the win with a late try as he returned to the international scene after a year’s absence through injury.

Lions skipper Brian O’Driscoll was also on the scoresheet, with No8 Jamie Heaslip the other Irish try scorer.

France led 7-3 courtesy of a 14th-minute Imanol Harinordoquy score but the Irish fought back to lead 13-10 at the half-time break.

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They stretched that advantage to 20-10 through O’Driscoll’s score early in the second period but France narrowed the gap to just two points courtesy of a Maxime Medard try and a second drop goal of the match from Lionel Beauxis.

D’Arcy’s try with around a quarter of an hour remaining gave Ireland breathing space once more but a Beauxis penalty narrowed the gap to leave Irish supporters dreading the prospect of a repeat of the 2007 result between the two sides when France clinched victory with a late Vincent Clerc score.

Fellow Lion Ronan O’Gara eased those fears shortly afterwards, however, as his well-struck penalty pushed the hosts two scores clear.

O’Gara’s effort proved to be the last score of a thrilling encounter, leaving the majority of the 82,000-strong crowd at Croke Park to return home happy.

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