Ireland kept their hopes of a first Grand Slam since 1948 very much alive after a scrappy 14-13 win over England in Dublin.
Declan Kidney’s men have now won their opening three matches of this year’s Six Nations and know that victories over Scotland and Wales would see them secure only a second-ever championship clean sweep.
2005 Lions skipper Brian O’Driscoll put in a fine individual performance, leading Ireland in everything they did and claiming their only try of the game in the 57th minute.
O’Driscoll also dropped a goal for the Irish, with fellow Lion Ronan O’Gara landing two penalties.
O’Gara was off-target with four of his six attempts at goal, however, and England were in the game until the final whistle.
A last-minute try from full back Delon Armitage, converted by replacement fly-half Andy Goode, brought England back to within a point and Ireland were more than happy to hold on for the win.
The indiscipline that had been so visible in England’s two previous championship fixtures came to the fore once more as they again lost two men to the sin bin.
2001 Lion and World Cup winner Phil Vickery was the first to receive a yellow card, while replacement No9 Danny Care incensed his team manager Martin Johnson after his shoulder barge on Marcus Horan left England with 14 men late in the game.
Ireland now take their Grand Slam quest to Murrayfield on Saturday week, while England host France at Twickenham the following day.