Peter O’Mahony said Ireland’s first half in the 34-10 win over Wales in the Six Nations opener was among the best 40 minutes of rugby he has been involved in at international level.
Tries from Caelan Doris, James Ryan and James Lowe had the match all but put to bed by half-time as Ireland led 27-3.
“From a team performance, it was certainly one of the better ones I’ve been involved in,” said O’Mahony.
The Munster man, 33, was earning his 90th cap for Ireland.
“The set-piece was very good which is always going to be important, especially coming in somewhere like the Principality [Stadium],” added the British and Irish Lion.
“We haven’t won here since 2013. It’s a difficult, difficult place to come and win and if you’re going to do that your set-piece has got to fire, and I thought particularly in that first half the line-out and the scrum fired really well and gave us a great platform to get stuck in.”
With the match totally under control, the intensity of the world’s top-ranked side did appear to drop somewhat in the second period before Josh van der Flier’s late touchdown secured a bonus point, which was the perfect outcome for Andy Farrell’s side heading into next weekend’s huge home clash with defending champions France.
“Certainly the first 40 minutes we were flowing nicely,” added O’Mahony.
“We started well. We were very calm. We attacked well. The defence was good. Some big moments to deny them probably two tries on our own goal line. Guys showing up for each other when it mattered.
“But look we’ll go back and look at that second half – particularly the first 20 minutes of it.
“Wales put us under a huge amount of pressure. We conceded too many penalties so we’ve got plenty to have a look at.”
Man of the match Hugo Keenan also felt that there is “plenty to work on” for the France contest but acknowledged that Ireland were “delighted” with their comprehensive victory.
“These are the occasions you want to be a part of. It’s a serious place to come,” said the Leinster full-back.
“We’re just taking it game by game. We haven’t won here in about 10 years. So we were just focusing on that. One game at a time, don’t get caught up in anything else.”