LIMERICK’s Paul O’Connell captained Ireland to their first win over France in Paris for 14 years and crucially to a first RBS Six Nations Championship title since 2009.
Ireland needed to win in the French capital for only the second time in 42 years to pip England, who also finished with four wins, on points difference.
Jonathan Sexton and Andrew Trimble scored tries for Ireland in the first half but Ireland trailed 13-12 at the break, with Brice Dulin having crossed for the hosts.
After the restart Sexton and Dimitri Szarzewski exchanged tries, Jean-Marc Doussain missed a late penalty and Damien Chouly had a last-minute try disallowed for a forward pass.
It is only Ireland’s second Six Nations title and the first since they won the Grand Slam in 2009. Captain O’Connell’s fellow Limerickman and Munster team mate Conor Murray was hugely influential for Ireland at scrum-half, making the crucial break which led to Ireland’s second try scored by Trimble.
It was a fitting way for O’Driscoll, playing his 133rd Test for Ireland and 141st in total, to go out after 15 remarkable years at the top of the game.
Two more Limerickmen, Eoin Reddan and Sean Cronin, were introduced as second half replacements, with both players making telling contributions to this precious success.