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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 February 2007, 19:28 GMT
Dublin - 24 February, 2007
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By James Standley

Ronan O'Gara (left), Shane Horgan and Girvan Dempsey celebrate
Ireland ran in four tries while Ronan O'Gara kicked eight from eight

Ireland: (23) 43
Tries: Dempsey, Wallace, Horgan, Boss
Cons: O'Gara 3, Wallace
Pens: O'Gara 5

England: (3) 13
Tries: Strettle
Cons: Wilkinson
Pens: Wilkinson 2

Ireland got their Six Nations campaign back on track by demolishing England in their first meeting at Croke Park.

Three Ronan O'Gara penalties edged the hosts into a 9-3 lead before tries from Girvan Dempsey and David Wallace gave them a 23-3 lead at the break.

A try from debutant David Strettle helped England cut the gap to 26-13 early in the second half.

But Shane Horgan and Isaac Boss added further tries as Ireland claimed their record win over England.

The 30-point margin smashed Ireland's all-time record winning margin of 22-0 against England in 1947.

England, meanwhile, conceded their highest points tally in Five or Six Nations Championship history, surpassing a 37-12 loss to France at Stade Colombes, Paris in 1972.

The emotional build-up to the match at Croke Park, home of the Gaelic Athletic Association, was more than matched by a pulsating encounter.

606 DEBATE: Give your thoughts on Ireland's win

England took a second-minute lead through a Jonny Wilkinson penalty but the hosts were soon back on terms when O'Gara replied in kind.

BBC blogger Jim Stokes
The opening quarter of the match was fairly even but as the half wore on the Irish started to gain the upper hand and two further O'Gara penalties saw them lead 9-3 after 26 minutes.

With the rain, which came and went throughout the afternoon, bucketing down once more Ireland's pack began to exert their influence at the line-out and just before the 30-minute mark came a crucial moment.

England just managed to halt the rampaging Simon Easterby but Danny Grewcock cynically went offside at the ruck and was yellow carded.

With England down to 14 men Ireland went for the kill, kicking the penalty into the corner, and it paid off as they scored the opening try of the match.

Girvan Dempsey
Girvan Dempsey scored the first of Ireland's four tries
England managed to repel the initial driving maul but the Irish, after some dithering and a poor pass from Stringer, spun the ball down the line.

Fine passes from Gordon D'Arcy and Brian O'Driscoll rescued the move and they sent Dempsey over, with O'Gara adding the extras.

Horgan and Paul O'Connell then both went close, with Mathew Tait making a fine tackle to deny the former, before Ireland stretched well clear when Wallace burrowed over after 38 minutes.

O'Gara made no mistake with the conversion to give Ireland a 23-3 lead at half-time.

O'Gara stretched the lead further with a penalty soon after the re-start but the visitors hit back almost immediately when the debutant Strettle skated over in the corner after England whipped the ball down the line.

Wilkinson converted from the touchline and although he fell short when he tried his luck with a penalty from halfway, he made no mistake from closer in soon after.

It looked as though the world champions were building some momentum but from the kick-off replacement prop Julian White was penalised for illegal use of the boot in a ruck and O'Gara cancelled out the penalty to restore Ireland's 16-point advantage.


From that moment Ireland assumed total control, launching a series of threatening attacks on the England line.

England just managed to repel one assault when captain O'Driscoll was held up over the line by Mike Tindall, but the visitors could not hold out for long.

From the resulting scrum O'Gara cross-kicked and the 6ft 4in Horgan soared above Josh Lewsey to claim a fine try.

O'Gara landed the conversion, his eighth kick out of eight, to make it 36-13.

And replacement scrum-half Boss claimed a late interception try as the hosts surfed a wave of emotion to victory, with the Croke Park faithful loudly acclaiming a stirring display.

Ireland: Dempsey; Horgan, B O'Driscoll (capt), D'Arcy, Hickie; O'Gara, Stringer; Horan, R Best, Hayes, O'Callaghan, O'Connell, S Easterby, D Wallace, Leamy.
Replacements: Flannery, S Best, N Best, M O'Driscoll, Boss, P Wallace, Trimble.

England: Morgan; Lewsey, Tindall, Farrell, Strettle; Wilkinson, Ellis; Freshwater, Chuter, Vickery (capt), Deacon, Grewcock, Worsley, Lund, Corry.
Replacements: Mears, White, Palmer, Rees, Perry, Flood, Tait.

Ireland v England match data
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