Declan Kidney's Ireland got their Six Nations campaign off to a flyer at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday as they withheld a second-half Welsh fightback to win 30-22.
Youngster Simon Zebo and old-timer Brian O'Driscoll were the heroes as Ireland managed to hang onto the victory despite losing Rory Best and Conor Murray to the sin-bin in a frenetic finale.
Tries from Munster winger Zebo, on his Six Nations debut, and Leinster prop Cian Healy helped a brilliant Ireland to a 23-3 half-time lead, Jonny Sexton kicking 13 points
Zebo even produced a cheeky flick that will feature on YouTube for years to come as he helped send Healy across for the second try.
When O'Driscoll crossed the Welsh line and Sexton kicked Ireland into a 30-3 lead from the conversion early in the second-half, the writing was on the wall for Wales, Grand Slam winners last season.
But Ireland never scored again and played out the match on defensive duties as Welsh tries from Cuthbert, Halfpenny and Mitchell ensured a grandstand finish.
Best and then Murray were sin-binned for indiscretions but Ireland held out for a famous win.
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