Wales's hopes of Six Nations history take a hit in Dublin

Wales players look dejected in the final minutes of the RBS 6 Nations match at the Aviva Stadium Photo: Brain Lawless/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Welsh hopes of achieving an unprecedented Six Nations title hat-trick took a beating in Dublin, as Ireland romped to a 26-3 victory.

Flanker Chris Henry's first-half try, plus 14 points from Jonny Sexton's boot and a late Paddy Jackson touchdown converted by Sexton, made it an emphatic win for Ireland, with Leigh Halfpenny giving Wales their only points on the board.

Ireland's Chris Henry scores a try against Wales Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

It's back to the drawing board for Wales ahead of hosting France in 13 days' time, when a win would keep them in the title mix, but a loss leaving them staring at mid-table mediocrity.

Wales suffered an immediate injury scare when prop Gethin Jenkins, recalled to the team for his 102nd cap, needed treatment inside two minutes, but the visitors soon settled and shaded early possession.

Ireland's Gordon D'Arcy is challenged by Wales's Gethin Jenkins Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

And Scott Williams came off worst after tackling Brian O'Driscoll, with Williams departing after 17 minutes with shoulder trouble.

Williams' exit meant wing George North was switched into midfield - the centre position he filled to great effect when Northampton stunned Heineken Cup rivals Leinster at the same ground in December - with Liam Williams going on as a replacement.

Wales, traditionally strong finishers, rallied as the clock ticked down, and substitute prop Rhodri Jones went close to scoring before Ireland gained a penalty and cleared the danger.

Ireland then spent closing the stages in Wales' half, their job done as they confirmed outstanding Six Nations title credentials with Jackson's converted 79th-minute touchdown.