DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland overcame Scotland 32-14 in a pulsating Six Nations encounter on Saturday after scoring four tries against one for the visitors to claim their second victory of the tournament.
First half tries by Rory Best, Eoin Reddan and Andrew Trimble left the Scots with too much to do although a 30-metre run to the line by Richie Gray was the try of the game.
Scotland held Ireland to within eight points for most of a tight second-half but Fergus McFadden put the game out of reach with a late try for the hosts.
Scotland, with nothing to show for a string of fine performances against England, Wales and France, were left with a visit to Rome next Saturday for the wooden spoon decider against an Italy side who are also looking for their first win.
Ireland, who lost to Wales and drew with France, throwing away a commanding lead in both games, face England at Twickenham with a renewed vigour.
“To score 32 points against this Scottish team you take a lot of confidence into next week,” said Best, who was captain for the first time in the Six Nations after Brian O‘Driscoll and Paul O‘Connell were ruled out with injuries.
“There is no doubt the Scots’ results don’t reflect their performances to date,” he said.
Scotland, who beat Ireland in Dublin last August in a World Cup warm-up, started brightly, punishing sloppy defence with two Greig Laidlaw penalties in the first 10 minutes.
But Ireland hit back with a try, Rory Best diving over scrum-half Mike Blair to touch down in the corner.
A period of intense pressure on the Irish line yielded only three points before Ireland surged into the Scottish half for Eoin Reddan to pounce into the corner for an opportunistic try.
Gray gave Scotland hope of repeating their 2010 Six Nations win in Dublin, darting 30 metres to score their first try in the 37th minute and close the gap ahead of the break.
But with the clock run down, Trimble darted over for a try to leave the halftime score at 22-14.
“We didn’t put any shape together. We turned the ball over after two or three phases and that’s not good enough at this level,” said Scotland manager Andy Robinson.
“It’s where we are as a side, we cause a lot of our own problems.”
In a lower scoring second period, Ireland’s Tommy Bowe was denied a try when the television official ruled the ball was moved in two stages in a scuffle with Graeme Morrison on the line.
The decision allowed the visitors to regain momentum, but they were unable to convert the pressure into a score.
Scotland’s Lee Jones was carried off on a stretcher after clashing heads with Trimble in a tackle on the hour but the Irish winger was not penalised. Jones was later taken to hospital, a Scotland official said.
It took 30 minutes of tight play before Jonathan Sexton opened the second-half scoring, slotting over a penalty after 72 minutes.
Scotland replacement Max Evans was sin-binned for pulling down Keith Earls who was running on to the ball for an almost certain try.
But an energised Ireland surged back and McFadden touched over beneath the posts with three minutes to go and Sexton converted.
Editing by Ken Ferris