Ireland recorded a simple 29-10 win against Italy in the first of their four World Cup warm-up games.
The game was almost overshadowed with Joey Carbery carted off early in the second half, however he appears to have escaped any serious injury and looks set to make the World Cup in six weeks’ time.
There’s also good news on Ulster hooker Rob Herring brought off during the game, but again he appears to avoided a World Cup-ending injury.
Ireland’s assistant head coach Andy Farrell had said these warm-up games were about learning from the good and bad – and the coaching staff were given plenty of both in the opening period.
The Italians cantered into a 10-7 lead after early tries from Maxime Mbanda and Carlo Canna.
Ireland appeared unable to stop the Italians from close-range, the home side’s play – especially on the defensive side of the ball - at times lacked intensity.
Carbery scored between Italy’s efforts after neat work from his Munster team-mate Chris Farrell.
Shortly after, Rob Herring was dealt a cruel blow as he hobbled off with injury.
While it doesn’t appear to be serious, Herring was battling with his replacement Niall Scannell for the third and final spot at hooker. Scannell impressed in his 60 minutes off the bench at the Aviva Stadium.
Ireland added two scores before the break through their two starting wingers. Both scores were replicas with some fast hands between the backs leading scores from Dave Kearney and Andrew Conway.
Full-back Jordan Larmour was provider on both occasions, firing out the final pass with expert accuracy.
While the Irish led 19-10 at the break, there was a lack of fluidity, understandable perhaps for a team of players who have largely never played together.
Ulster’s Jordi Murphy got the fourth try after half time from a rolling maul with Kieron Marmion adding a fifth after a blocked kick.
Carty replaced Carbery after the Munster man’s ankle injury and steadied the ship in Dublin as Ireland controlled the final stages of the game.
The Irish now travel to Portugal for a warm-weather training camp as the places for a World Cup berth hot up.
43 players remain in Joe Schmidt’s squad – but more are expected to be told their World Cup dream is over early this week as that final travelling party of 31 becomes clearer.