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Little could separate both sides as the encounter ticked toward the half-way mark, with the hosts boasting a tenuous 6-3 lead courtesy of the boot of fly-half Jonny Sexton.
However, after Joe Schmidt's men were denied a try after Jamie Heaslip was adjudged to have been in touch at the time of grounding the ball, Ireland touched down legitimately moments later through winger Andrew Trimble to give the hosts a 11-3 half-time lead.
Greig Laidlaw reduced the arrears to five points shortly after the restart with a penalty, only for Heaslip to touch down four minutes later, with Sexton's conversion opening up a 12-point deficit for Scott Johnson's men.
Rob Kearney added a converted try in the final 10 minutes to seal the win by a 22-point margin as the Irish usurp Wales at the summit of the standings.