DUBLIN - Ireland coach Joe Schmidt enjoyed a winning start to his first Six Nations rugby campaign as his team eased to a 28-6 win over a one-dimensional Scotland on Sunday at Lansdowne Road.
Schmidt replaced the sacked Declan Kidney after last year's disappointing tournament and his side turned a shaky 11-3 first-half performance into a more impressive second-half showing.
It will give them some confidence for Saturday's home game against two-time defending champions Wales.
The Irish, hit by the withdrawal just before the match of captain Paul O'Connell with a chest infection, ran in three tries through Andrew Trimble, man of the match Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney.
Both sides had opportunities to score early. Scotland's Greig Laidlaw's long-range penalty come off the upright, then an Irish rolling maul was brought down just short of the Scotland line.
Ireland who opened the scoring after 13 minutes with a Jonathan Sexton penalty.
Scotland continued to attack the Irish line and, on 19 minutes, Laidlaw levelled the scores with a penalty for a breakdown infringement.
On 21 minutes, Scotland were penalised in the lineout and Sexton slotted his second penalty.
Scotland continued to enjoy good possession but were not able to gain territory. Twice they tried to break wide but were quickly closed down by aggressive Irish defence.
Scotland No.8 David Denton went close to crossing the Irish line on 29 minutes when he broke from the scrum inside the Irish 22.
However, opposite number Heaslip was alert and, with some help, managed to bundle Denton into touch.
Maitland was replaced by Max Evans on 31 minutes after the Scotland winger fell awkwardly while contesting the ball in the air.
With individual brilliance, Ireland outhalf Sexton dummied from deep inside his own half then stepped through the Scotland defence.
He sprinted upfield before releasing Heaslip. Despite crossing, the try was not given as his foot was marginally in touch before grounding the ball.
Ireland secured the first try when the forwards set the platform from a lineout maul for the backs to attack.
With quick hands, the ball worked along the backline to Trimble who made no mistake finishing off.