Six Nations: Ireland labour to 26-16 bonus-point victory over Italy

Italy's performance impressed coach Conor O'Shea

Italy's performance impressed coach Conor O'Shea

But the second quarter of the game belonged to Italy, with Allan pulling them closer with another penalty, and then two well-worked tries finished by Edoardo Padovani and Luca Morisi helped Italy to take a stunning 16-12 lead into the dressing rooms at halftime.

However, a Keith Earls try shortly after the restart settled Ireland's nerves and Conor Murray, who had added the extras, scored and converted another try to give Ireland the bonus point.

"We know how hard it is to come to Rome", added man of the match Peter O'Mahony after captaining Ireland for the first time.

"I was proud of the way the lads handled the second half because, you know, we were under the pump, we were under pressure coming in at half-time".

"We felt we have climbed in terms of the level of performances this year".

"That's the reason you see some errors from both sides, we tried to push the boundaries with the way were trying to play and we wanted to play".

"We live in an immediate world, it's another easy article for lazy people to write about Italy if they want to, but we're a proud nation and, like Ireland in the 1990s, we'll continue to build", he added.

"Italy have been putting down performances, not only in the club game but also in the global game and I think five points is good for us and gives us a lot to think about going forward".

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"I saw on that pitch today a lot of heart". We look at errors, things we can do well.

"With England losing, Wales are looking like a tough proposition, but all we can do is concentrate on our own game and produce to the best of our ability".

Italy had lost its previous 19 matches in the Six Nations - a championship record - and seemed to be heading for a 20th straight defeat as tries from Quinn Roux and Jacob Stockdale gave Ireland a 12-3 lead halfway through the first period.

But O'Shea insists the display against Ireland has made him excited about what they can do in the future, with his young side continuing to progress.

"England have got 10 points and didn't get a bonus point yesterday, which opens the door a little bit for us".

"Wales are in the strongest position now they've won three out of three, it's going to be a huge match in Cardiff for us".

"We need to make sure that over the next few weeks we keep building".

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