Two-try Gordon D'Arcy led the way as Ireland swept aside
defiant Scotland 37-16 with a second-half flourish which clinched a Triple Crown triumph at Lansdowne Road.Although Ireland claimed their first Triple
Crown in 19 years but they failed to rack up enough points to give them a chance of winning the Six Nations.
The home side had a nervy first period against a fired-up
Scotland team but Geordan Murphy's try just before the break gave Ireland a 16-9 lead.Scotland did level the scores through an Ali Hogg touchdown on
48 minutes.However three tries in the final 24 minutes, including a second for Gordon D'Arcy, sealed the win for Ireland.There was a lot at stake for
both sides heading into the game and the opening exchanges were nervy and fractious.
Scotland, who trailed 16-9 at half-time, were level
eight minutes into the second half with a try from flanker Allister Hogg converted by Chris Paterson.But the Irish moved up a gear in response and
tries from David Wallace, Peter Stringer and man of the match D'Arcy secured an emphatic victory for Ireland and condemned Scotland to the wooden
spoon.D'Arcy and Geordan Murphy had claimed the first-half tries which enabled Ireland to build a seven-point half-time lead.Two Paterson penalties
and a Dan Parks drop-goal had kept Scotland in with a chance and Hogg's converted try raised hopes of an upset.But Ireland were in no mood to let a
Triple Crown slip from their grasp and three tries in 20 second-half minutes did the trick.Skippered by Brian O'Driscoll, who was winning his 50th
cap, Ireland needed to beat the Scots by at least 50 points to have any chance of winning the championship.They never looked like doing so as Matt
Williams' men made them work hard for their win but the Irish were still celebrating at the final whistle with a Triple Crown in their grasp.
G Dempsey, A Horgan, G D'Arcy, B O'Driscoll, G Murphy, R O'Gara, P Stringer, R Corrigan, S Byrne, J Hayes, M O'Kelly, P O'Connell, S
Easterby, P Wallace, A Foley.
Replacements: F Sheahan, Horan, D O'Callaghan), V Costello, D Humphreys, G Easterby, K Maggs.
C Paterson, S Danielli, T Philip, A Henderson, S Webster, D Parks, C Cusiter, A Jacobsen, G Bulloch, B Douglas, S Murray, S Grimes, J
White, S Taylor, A Hogg.
Replacements: R Russell, G Kerr, N Hines, J Petrie, M Blair, B Laney, D Lee.
[Edited on 27/3/04 by TRD]