- England miss out of Grand Slam but win RBS 6 Nations
- Tries from Bowe and O'Driscoll secure win for Kidney's side
Ireland 24 England 8
England are 2011 RBS 6 Nations champions, despite being comprehensively defeated 24-8 by Ireland in Dublin and having their Grand Slam hopes dashed in the process.
England's defeat briefly opened the door for Wales but, needing to beat France in Paris by 27 points to take the title, Warren Gatland's side went down 28-9.
Declan Kidney's Ireland saved their best of the competition until last at the Aviva Stadium, as the home team finally produced the sort of rugby they had threatened earlier in the tournament.
Producing a display of real confidence, Ireland's high-tempo attitude going forward and ability to pressure England in defence seemed to un-nerve Martin Johnson's men.
They were 17-3 up at half-time after Ospreys wing Tommy Bowe scored their opening try and fly half Jonathan Sexton kicked four penalties.
Captain Brian O'Driscoll then scored his 25th try in Five/Six Nations competition – a new record – and although hooker Steve Thompson pulled one back for England, they never looked likely to make any more headway.
England appeared confident from the kick off, although Ireland's defence immediately held up well and they soon won a penalty after their pack dominated the opening scrum.
They won another when England strayed offside at the lineout after six minutes, with Sexton kicking three points from in front of the posts.
England lost promising possession when trying to break through the midfield soon after, and although Ireland's counter ended with a knock-on, their next brought a high tackle by wing Chris Ashton on Sexton.
The Ireland No.10 duly hit the target and England found themselves 6-0 down after 15 minutes.
Ireland dominated possession and territory
Photo: Getty Images
Four minutes later flanker David Wallace ended the attempts of scrum half Ben Youngs to spark an attack and the No.9 was then penalised at the scrum for knocking the ball out the hands of an opponent.
Sexton kicked for the corner and with territory established, Ireland worked the ball up and back down the line. Although O'Driscoll then crossed in the left-hand corner, Bowe's pass to the overlap was adjudged forward.
Still, there was the consolation of another three points for Sexton and the knowledge that they held the upper hand. It got worse for England after 25 minutes when, having been awarded a penalty that he would surely have normally taken, fly half Toby Flood was found wanting.
Ireland pressed forward immediately and caught England flat-footed, with Bowe this time making no mistake as he took Sexton's pass to cross in the corner. Sexton could not convert, but Leicester Tigers man Flood could at least put England's first points on the board with a penalty just past the half hour.
They could not use that to fashion a response though; instead Wallace came close to scoring after England's backline were dispossessed dealing with a high kick.
Youngs had helped bundled Wallace into touch but he was then sin-binned for throwing the ball into the crowd and preventing the quick throw. Sexton kicked his fourth penalty, with Wallace almost crossing again – this time in the left-hand corner – one minute before half time.
O’Driscoll grabs record breaking 25th tournament try
Photo: Getty Images
England appeared just as nervous at the start of the second half as Ireland piled on more pressure, although they failed to make the man advantage pay.
But with Danny Care replacing Youngs it didn't matter as O'Driscoll picked up a loose ball to cross in the left-hand corner after 46 minutes, with Sexton converting from the touchline.
Ashton then burst for the line but his final pass found centre Gordon D'Arcy. However, Ireland gifted their opponents a try on 52 minutes after a line-out went awry and replacement Thompson took advantage to charge over unopposed for his fourth career try.
Fellow replacement Jonny Wilkinson missed the conversion and it was around this time that England finally appeared to get their act together and consistently apply pressure themselves.
But the home side remained ahead on territory in the closing 10 minutes and try as England might, their increasingly tired-looking attacks never looked likely to prosper.
Ireland full back Keith Earls made headway for Ireland two minutes from time without reward and although England finished on the front foot, their last attack ended when Wilkinson fumbled the ball.
Ireland v England teams
Ireland: Earls; Bowe, B O'Driscoll, D'Arcy, Trimble; Sexton, Reddan; Healy, Best, Ross, O'Callaghan, O'Connell, O'Brien, D Wallace, Heaslip.
Replacements: O'Gara for Sexton (69), Stringer for Reddan (71), Cronin for Best (71), Court for Ross (58), Cullen for O'Connell (78), D Leamy for D Wallace (71).
Not Used: P Wallace.
England: Foden; Ashton, Banahan, Hape, Cueto; Flood, Youngs; Corbisiero, Hartley, Cole, Deacon, Palmer, Wood, Haskell, Easter.
Replacements: Strettle for Cueto (66), Wilkinson for Flood (51), Care for Youngs (46), Thompson for Hartley (51), Doran-Jones for Cole (51), Croft for Deacon (55), Shaw for Palmer (27).
Sin Bin: Youngs (35).
Ref: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand).
See England in action in their last home match before the Rugby World Cup when they take on Wales in an Investec International at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday, August 6. Tickets are available from £30, £10 for under 16s via RFU.com.