Six Nations: Ireland 42-10 Italy
IRELAND (17) 42
- Earls, Bowe 2, Court, Trimble
- Sexton 4
- Sexton 3
ITALY (10) 10
Ireland ran in five tries as they secured an ultimately comfortable Six Nations win over Italy in Dublin.
Jonny Sexton's penalty and conversion of Keith Earls' 16th-minute try made it 10-3 but Sergio Parisse's try levelled the contest.
Tommy Bowe got over just before half-time and the Ospreys winger grabbed his 22nd Test try in the 61st minute to give the Irish some breathing space.
The win was capped by late tries by Ulster's Tom Court and Andrew Trimble.
Fly-half Sexton landed seven kicks out of eight in what was, in the end, an emphatic and deserved win for Declan Kidney's men.
Looking ahead, Kidney should be largely satisfied apart, perhaps, from a period in the second quarter when Italy piled on some sustained pressure and were rewarded with their try.
Ireland responded strongly, though, with four touchdowns and stopped the visitors adding to their tally for the entire second half.
Italy fly-half Tobias Botes pulled a penalty wide in the second minute, but he got the first points on the board with his next attempt when the hosts were penalised for not releasing.
Sexton brought Ireland level with his first penalty attempt after receiving treatment for a bang on the head.
Ireland moved up a gear and a period of sustained pressure ended with the Earls crossing for his sixth try in four Tests after flanker Stephen Ferris had unselfishly off-loaded to the Munster man.
Italy, though, were enjoying their best spell of the match, and grabbed a 35th-minute try after Ireland's five-man line-out went wrong.
Open-side Robert Barbieri committed four defenders during a charge to the line and when the ball was recycled, Italy had a huge overlap that enabled Parisse to stroll home.
Ireland's response was emphatic, kicking a penalty to touch and launching a series of attacks which created numbers out wide, presenting Bowe with a simple run-in, Sexton adding the extras.
The fly-half extended the hosts' lead to 13 points with two penalties in the third quarter, before sending Bowe in for his second try with a fine cut-out pass as Italy's resistance started to fray.
The score lifted Bowe to third in the all-time list of Irish try-scorers, behind Brian O'Driscoll and Denis Hickie, while Ronan O'Gara overtook O'Driscoll's appearance record when he came on for his 118th cap 10 minutes from time.
Two late tries put a gloss on Ireland's afternoon and delighted the home support.
A series of forward drives climaxed with replacement Court burrowing over, before Andrew Trimble raced 70m up the left flank to complete the rout.
Ireland: 15-Kearney, 14-Bowe, 13-Earls, 12-D'Arcy, 11-Trimble, 10-Sexton, 9-Murray; 1-Healy, 2-Best, 3-Ross, 4-O'Callaghan, 5-O'Connell (c), 6-Ferris, 7-O'Brien, 8-Heaslip.
Replacements: 16-Cronin (for Best, 70), 17-Court (for Healey, 70) 18-Ryan (for O'Callaghan, 59), 19-O'Mahony (for O'Brien, 59), 20-Reddan (for Murray, 54), 21-O'Gara (for Sexton, 70), 22-McFadden (for Earls, 67).
Italy: 15-Masi, 14-Venditti, 13-Benvenuti, 12-Sgarbi, 11-McLean, 10-Botes, 9-Gori; 1-Rizzo, 2-Ghiraldini, 3-Cittadini, 4-Geldenhuys, 5-Bortolami, 6-Zanni, 7-Barbieri, 8-Parisse (c).
Replacements: 16-D'Apice (for Ghiraldini, 71), 17-Staibano (for Cittadini, 63), 18-Pavanello (for Geldenhuys, 59), 19-Favaro (for Barbieri, 63), 20-Semenzato (for Gori, 72), 21-Burton (for Botes, 59), 22-Canale (for Sgarbi, 63).
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Touch judges: Nigel Owens (Wales), David Changleng (Scotland)
TV: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales)