Ireland were down 17-3 against France at Stade de France at half time and looked in deep trouble after a bright start in near freezing conditions.
Ireland lost 10 points when prop Cian Healy was sin binned after a blatant takedown on a French player was caught by the referee.
Minutes later hooker Gerry Flannery lashed out at a French player and reversed a penalty to Ireland by his actions. France went on to score a try.
Ireland got back in the game with a Ronan O'Gara penalty but then a dreadful knock on by Paul O'Connell on the resultant kick off saw France sweep down the field and score a try under the posts.
Ireland attacked in the closing seconds of the half but just failed to get over the when O'Leary was stopped on the one-yard line.
Half time Ireland 3 France 17.