Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll heaped praise on team-mate Ronan O'Gara following a narrow victory over Wales in Cardiff, which saw the Irish claim their first Grand Slam for 61 years.

O’Gara slotted over a late drop goal, before a long-range Stephen Jones’ penalty right at the death fell short, allowing Ireland to celebrate.

O’Driscoll revealed that O’Gara had not only contributed greatly to his side’s triumph on the pitch, but also off it, having delivered a passionate speech on the morning of the match.

"Ronan speaks very passionately," said the Dubliner. "He took the backs aside and had everybody's attention, 100 percent of everybody's concentration.

"He has had some great highs but some lows too. He showed great strength of character to come back and knock that drop goal over. You wouldn't think he had a nerve in his body.”

O'Driscoll added: "We could have lost at the death so the shock factor set in for a few seconds and then over the next few minutes we enjoyed the elation with team-mates, ones you've put your body on the line for.

"That's the most important thing, to be able to look them in the face and know you've put your body on the line. That's pretty sweet."

Ireland’s 100 percent record in the 2009 RBS 6 Nations marked an incredible achievement for coach Declan Kidney in his first season in charge.

"It's fairly special,” he said. “Boys did what they said they would do even though we could have got caught at the end. It's just brilliant, just unbelievable.

"Unless you have a love for the game you don't win. They worked hard. They have been very honest and to be here myself is a privilege."

Wales coach Warren Gatland paid tribute to Ireland, accepting the defeat with grace.

"Ireland have won all their matches and learnt the way to win games,” said the New Zealander.

"They pick and go a lot and kick intelligently. They kicked significantly more than we have today but have done it well.

"When they get opportunities they tend to take them and you must give them credit for doing that.

"They know how to grind out victory and grind out results. When they get in front they normally hang on and when they slip behind they know what to do.

"There's a lot of experience in that Ireland side and they were good enough to win the Grand Slam."