Johnny Sexton’s record-breaking Guinness Six Nations swansong left Ireland’s Grand Slam-winning fly-half admitting he felt like he was ‘living in a dream’.
The iconic fly-half marked his final Championship appearance by becoming the leading points scorer in the competition’s history, surpassing his compatriot Ronan O’Gara.
Sexton kicked a nine-point haul, including a penalty that saw him leapfrog his predecessor and receive a standing ovation and guttural roar from a Dublin crowd who enjoyed for a St Patrick’s Day weekend to remember.
He went on to convert each of Dan Sheehan’s scores, as well as adding the extras to Robbie Henshaw’s decisive try, on a day which saw the veteran’s experience shine through.
“You couldn’t make it up, you couldn’t make it up, It is like living in a dream,” said the 37-year-old.
“I am actually worried I am going to wake up in the morning.
“We did not play our best, but what a team and what a group of coaches.
“They prepared us so well, but we did nothing that they told us to do, we did the exact opposite and we made things hard for ourselves.
” England are a top-class team and to come here and get a win on St Patrick’s weekend is unbelievable. What a day.”
Ireland took a narrow 10-6 lead into the break thanks to Sheehan’s first try and Sexton’s penalty, but the real talking point of the half came when Freddie Steward saw red for a high tackle.
After half-time, Robbie Henshaw and Rob Herring scored either side of Sheehan’s second to wrap up the win, the Championship and the Grand Slam, though England did score an impressive lineout drive with Jamie George touching down.
Sexton added: “We set out to win a Grand Slam at the start of the year, we had a Triple Crown last year, and we wanted to build on that.
“It came down to today, we talked about this day eight weeks ago, but we finally got to the big final and we didn’t quite nail it, but we did enough.
“It is the best Championship you can play in and the best country you can play for.
“It is an incredible group of people, and we are so proud to be Irish.
“Every time we come out here, we want to show that to everyone here and I think we do that win, lose or draw.”