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The BBC's Nick Mullins
"Their performance was no phantom flash in the pan"
 real 28k

Saturday, 4 March, 2000, 18:49 GMT
Record-breaking O'Gara sinks Italy

O'Gara brings down Bergamasco
Ireland 60-13 Italy

Ireland followed their record victory over the Scots with a further thumping of Six Nations newcomers Italy.

Their six-try triumph at Lansdowne Road gave them back-to-back championship wins for the first time since 1993.
Six Nations Championship

They rattled up 33 first-half points as young kicker Ronan O'Gara hit top form and almost doubled the tally by the final whistle.

Man-of-the-match O'Gara slotted virtually every kick presented to him, his 30 points from the boot registering a new Irish record.

O'Gara beat Paul Burke's previous record of 24 points set against Italy at Lansdowne Road in 1997.

Italy: One consolation try
But it was the all-round performance by the 22-year-old, controversially selected ahead of the more experienced David Humphreys, which made him the pick of the Irish.

He did not score a try but played a key part in many of the moves which set up Keith Wood, Kieron Dawson, Girvan Dempsey, Brian O'Driscoll and Shane Horgan (2) for their scores.

At one stage the home side were scoring at the rate of a point-a-minute as they looked to build on their record victory over Scotland a fortnight ago.

The opening try came after just eight minutes, Wood charging into the gap created by a deft flick pass from scrum-half Peter Stringer.

A conversion and a second O'Gara penalty followed before Horgan raced over after 18 minutes.

The winger darted around the static Italian defence before another conversion from O'Gara.

100% record

Three more penalties followed before the interval as he maintained a perfect record with the boot for the afternoon.
Dempsey (right) is the toast of Dublin
The 22-year-old stand-off's clever flick set up Dawson for his first international try - which he duly converted.

Italy had to wait until the 48th minute to get their first points on the board through Diego Dominquez's penalty.

And though another followed quickly, any hope of a revival was swiftly crushed by the ruthless Irish.

O'Gara added another penalty before O'Driscoll, broke through the weakening Italian line to set up good Irish possession and was then on hand to finish the move.

With the victory assured, coach Warren Galand took the opportunity to pull off several key men and the changes allowed Italy a chink of daylight.

Unsighted referee Derek Bevan wrongly ruled out a Alessandro Troncon touchdown but the Italians had justice a minute later when No 8 Andrea de Rossi piled over for their only try.

But the Irish substitutes soon found their rythym and hit back with two further tries, Demspey getting his fourth international score and Horgan his second of the day.

Needless to say O'Gara slotted both conversions to cap his match-winning display.


Ireland: Dempsey, Horgan, O'Driscoll, Mullins, Hickie, O'Gara, Stringer, Clohessy, Wood, Hayes, Galwey, O'Kelly, S. Easterby, Dawson, Foley. Replacements: Sheahan, Fitzpatrick, Johns, O'Cuinneagain, G. Easterby, Humphreys, Henderson.

Italy: Pini, Francesio, Stoica, Martin, D. Dallan, Dominguez, Troncon, Cuttitta, Moscardi, Paoletti, Checchinato, Gritti, Visser, de Rossi, Bergamasco. Replacements: Orlandi, Perugini, Lanzi, Travini, Mazzi, Rivaro, Preo.

Referee: Derek Bevan (Wales)

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