Ireland returned to winning ways in the Guinness Six Nations with a 57-6 bonus-point victory over 13-man Italy in Dublin. Michael Lowry impressed on his debut.
Ulster’s full-back is a force to be reckoned with. Joey Carbery, Jamison Gibson-Park, stand-in captain Peter O’Mahony, Ryan Baird, and Kieran Treadwell also scored tries.
After Hame Faiva was sent off for a high tackle on Dan Sheehan, who had replaced fellow hooker Gianmarco Lucchesi due to injury, the Azzurri were forced to play two men light for three-quarters of the day.
Gibson-Park dived over as Ireland soon made advantage of their numerical advantage.
Fleet-footed After crossing on a dream debut, Lowry was swarmed by the entire Irish team, before skipper O’Mahony marked his first Six Nations appearance since being sent off against Wales last year by diving over in the left corner to secure the bonus point.
Garbisi’s goal right before halftime increased Italy’s lead, but Kieran Crowley’s side faced a thankless assignment.
Lowe, back in play after missing the first two rounds due to injury, added to the difficulty of the Azzurri mission by scoring unchallenged seven minutes into the second stanza.
With his second, star man Lowry brought the crowd to their feet once again, before lock Baird celebrated his first Six Nations start by rushing down Alessandro Fusco’s attempted clearing and diving over triumphantly.
Late in the game, things went from bad to worse for the desperate Italians.
Braam Steyn was sent off five minutes from time for deliberating knocking the ball into touch, and Lowry unselfishly passed up the potential for a hat-trick by assisting Lowe’s second.