This is the match where Ireland got some of their swagger back. Without being exceptional they dominated the first half, going into the dressing room 19 points to the good. The pick of the first half tries being their second with Sexton going over for a well-worked try.
Their first try of the game had extra significance, Rory Best scoring on what will be his last home appearance in the Six Nations.
In the second half with the Fields of Athenry ringing around the ground, Ireland continued in the same vein. Earls went over for his 13th Irish try. Larmour almost had a contender for try of the tournament but it wasn’t to be.
Ireland and their coaches will have been disappointed not to shut out France completely over the 80 minutes with the French managing to score two late consolation tries.
France were a bit directionless even after the improvement in their last game against the Scottish. Low in confidence, they don’t seem to be playing for each other.
The Irish win has set up a wonderful final day of the Six Nations. England, Wales & Ireland are now in with a chance of being victors, plus the sub-plot of a potential Welsh Grand Slam in Warren Gatland’s final Six Nations game.
For Joe Schmidt, I’m sure the Irish squad will want to perform for him too in what will be his last Six Nations fixture with the Irish.