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Ireland 20-23 Scotland

Ireland (7) 20
Tries: O'Driscoll, Bowe Cons: Sexton, O'Gara Pens: Sexton, O'Gara
Scotland (14) 23
Try: Beattie Pens: Parks 5 Drop goals: Parks

By Richard Petrie

Dan Parks kicks the winning penalty against Ireland

Highlights - Ireland 20-23 Scotland

Scotland avoided the Six Nations Wooden Spoon and denied Ireland a Triple Crown by winning 23-20 at Croke Park thanks to a last-gasp Dan Parks penalty.

Scotland led 14-7 at half-time through a Johnnie Beattie try and two penalties and a drop-goal by Dan Parks.

Brian O'Driscoll scored an early try which Jonathan Sexton converted.

Parks and Sexton swapped penalties before Tommy Bowe's converted try made it 17-17 and Parks and Ronan O'Gara hit further kicks before Parks' winner.

It ensured Scotland were finally rewarded with a victory from a rollercoaster campaign which saw them lose leads against Wales, Italy and England in the closing stages.

Ireland, who were hoping to celebrate their final game at Croke Park by securing a fifth Triple Crown in seven years, were left to reflect on a fourth defeat in 14 games at their temporary home.

Johnnie Beattie

Beattie breakaway try sets up Scots win

Their loss ensured that France had secured a fifth Six Nations title in 11 years even before they faced England aiming to seal a Grand Slam.

Scotland exerted early pressure as the hosts looked nervous and made several handling errors.

Parks kicked a sixth-minute penalty after Paul O'Connell had been penalised for not rolling away from the tackle as Andy Robinson's side began the game in enterprising fashion.

Four minutes later Sexton showed pace and invention to loop around Gordon D'Arcy and cut through the Scottish defence before his inside pass, which looked forward, released O'Driscoll for his 39th try for Ireland under the posts.

Sexton added the simple conversion to make it 7-3 with 12 minutes on the clock.

Scotland swiftly bounced back with a series of impressive offloads, which culminated in Graeme Morrison passing to Beattie, who ploughed through attempted tackles from Geordan Murphy, Paul O'Connell and D'Arcy to touch down in the corner. Parks failed to add the two points.

Kidney gives all credit to Scotland

Ten minutes before the break Sexton sent a 45m penalty right of the posts but Parks was successful with his penalty attempt three minutes before half-time after Donncha O'Callaghan failed to roll away from the tackle.

The Scottish fly-half then landed a drop-goal from 35m in the final minute of the first period to give the visitors a seven-point half-time lead, a fair reflection of their domination, especially in the scrum.

Sexton was again off-target with a penalty two minutes after the interval but Parks made it 17-7 with his third penalty of the game.

Sexton reduced Ireland's deficit to seven points with a straightforward kick in front of the posts, in what turned out to be the Leinster fly-half's final contribution of the game before being replaced by O'Gara.

Parks missed with a penalty before Bowe completed a fine move involving O'Driscoll and D'Arcy by shrugging off the challenge of Hugo Southwell to stretch out and ground the ball in the corner for his third try of the tournament.

O'Gara added the conversion from a tight angle near the touchline to level the scores and set up an exciting finish.

Win over Ireland 'just reward' - Parks

Parks slotted another penalty between the posts with seven minutes remaining but O'Gara responded by levelling after Euan Murray was penalised for having his head below waist level at the hit in the scrum.

Man-of-the-match Parks emerged as the match-winner, his long kick deep into Ireland territory putting replacement Rob Kearney under pressure.

The full-back opted to try to run the ball out as Simon Danielli and Nick de Luca closed him down, and was penalised for holding on in the tackle.

Up stepped Parks, who ignored the boos from Irish supporters upset at the time he was taking, to convert the winning penalty inches from the left touchline.

Ireland: G Murphy, T Bowe, B O'Driscoll (capt), G D'Arcy, K Earls, J Sexton, T O'Leary, C Healy, R Best, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell, S Ferris, D Wallace, J Heaslip.

Replacements: S Cronin, T Buckley for Hayes (80), L Cullen, S Jennings, E Reddan, R O'Gara for Sexton (52), R Kearney for Murphy (26) .

Scotland: H Southwell, S Lamont, N De Luca, G Morrison, M Evans, D Parks, C Cusiter (capt); A Jacobsen, R Ford, E Murray, J Hamilton, A Kellock, K Brown, J Barclay, J Beattie.

Replacements: S Lawson for Ford (72), A Dickinson for Jacobsen (67), R Gray for Hamilton (52), A MacDonald, M Blair for Cusiter (52), P Godman, S Danielli for Lamont (73).

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

Touch judges: Craig Joubert (South Africa) & Jerome Garces (France)

TV: Giulio de Santis (Italy)

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see also
Ireland v Scotland match stats
31 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union
Scots deserve plaudits - Robinson
20 Mar 10 |  Scottish
Kidney disappointed by Irish loss
20 Mar 10 |  Irish
Ireland v Scotland photos
20 Mar 10 |  Rugby Union
Ireland 27-12 Wales
13 Mar 10 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 15-15 England
13 Mar 10 |  Rugby Union

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