Ireland's bid to claim the Guinness Six Nations title came up short in Paris with France’s eight-point win handing the championship to England.

Andy Farrell’s side kicked off in an empty Stade de France knowing that a seven-point win would be enough to overtake England, who had earlier beaten Italy 34-5 in Rome. 

To illustrate how hard that task would be, Ireland had only won three times in Paris in the Six Nations era, each time by a margin of just two points.

Cian Healy scored a try on his 100th appearance and Robbie Henshaw and Jacob Stockdale also crossed but France, after scoring in the seventh minute, led for all but 10 minutes of the game.

Tries from Antoine Dupont, Romain Ntamack, Virimi Vakatawa and a penalty try sealed a deserved win.

It was an error-strewn performance by the visitors in the rain of Saint Denis, with numerous knock-ons, misjudged kicks and poor option-taking ensuring that the Super Saturday finale turned into a Halloween nightmare for Ireland’s hopes.

As a result they finished third in the table, a placing that comes with a €2.77m payday; England took the €5.5m prize.

France also knew their unlikely target before kick-off with the hosts needing to claim a bonus-point win by a margin of 32 points to leap to the top of the table.

While that was never a realistic goal, they did grab the opening try. 

The Irish defence hesitated under a high ball near the sideline and when it was batted back into play Les Bleus made the most of it, the ball coming to Gael Fickou on the far wing.

The Stade man beat two out-of-position defenders to set up scrum-half Dupont, who had a clear run in for a try that Ntamack converted.

The visitors should have been level three minutes later when referee Wayne Barnes declined to award a penalty try after Hugo Keenan was denied by Anthony Bouthier slapping the ball out of play.

The officials focused on a possible offside and the deliberate foul by the full-back and neglected a nudge that made it appear as if Keenan would not collect.

Bouthier was yellow-carded and Ireland took advantage nine minutes later when Healy barged over.

Captain Johnny Sexton converted and added a penalty to give Ireland a 26th-minute 10-7 lead but that was soon cancelled out when France were awarded a penalty try.

Stockdale, in his second international start at full-back, failed to deal with an awkward grubber before Francois Cros hacked towards goal and would have scored himself except Caelan Doris hauled him down off the ball.

That meant 10 minutes in the bin for the Mayo man but Ireland managed to emerge from that spell with no further net damage done, Sexton and Ntamack swapping penalties.

Indeed, Ireland could have reduced the deficit further had Sexton decided to take his points when a kickable penalty just before the break but declined for a lineout, which came to nothing. 

France rushed out of the blocks in the second half adding 11 points in the opening 12 minutes. 

Ntamack landed two penalties soon after finishing off some fine opportunistic play by Fickou and Dupont to score France's third try of the night.

Ireland struggled to forge a path in the wet conditions and began to force plays before Henshaw’s brilliant individual effort, brushing off four would-be tacklers, gave the visitors a glimmer of hope with 20 minutes to play.

They trailed by eight following Sexton’s fine conversion from the sideline but the lineout was not functioning and missed penalties to touch only added to the side’s frustration.

Vakatawa grabbed the bonus point try and even though Ntamack converted, England, relaxing in a hotel in Rome, could begin their celebrations with Eddie Jones claiming the title for the third time and the first since 2017.

Stockdale’s late run-in served only to add some gloss to the result.

Ireland face Wales in the Nations Cup on Friday week with Farrell having plenty to work on.

France: Anthony Bouthier, Vincent Rattez, Virimi Vakatawa, Arthur Vincent, Gael Fickou; Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand, Mohamed Haouas, Bernard Le Roux, Paul Willemse, Francois Cros, Charles Ollivon (capt), Gregory Alldritt.

Replacements: Camille Chat, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Demba Bamba, Romain Taofifenua, Dylan Cretin, Baptiste Serin, Arthur Retiere, Thomas Ramos.

Ireland: Jacob Stockdale, Andrew Conway, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Hugo Keenan, Johnny Sexton (capt), Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rob Herring, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan, Caelan Doris, Will Connors, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Ed Byrne, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Peter O'Mahony, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Chris Farrell.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU).