A gallant Ireland came up agonisingly short in their attempt to keep their Six Nations title hopes alive as they fell to a narrow defeat against France in Dublin.

Tournament favourites France were given a big scare by a depleted home side but hung on for a first championship win in the Aviva Stadium in 10 years.

Tries from Charles Ollivon and Damian Penaud and kicks from Mathieu Jalibert did the damage, while Ronán Kelleher's first international try proved to be a consolation score in the end.

It’s the first time that Ireland have lost their opening two games in the Six Nations and are now out of the running for honours.

Andy Farrell's men were the better side for most of the opening half and will wonder how a solitary penalty from Billy Burns was all they had to show for their efforts.

The Ulster out-half, in for injured captain Johnny Sexton, had missed a relatively straightforward kick in the 18th minute before giving the hosts the lead three minutes later when Bernard le Roux was penalised for not rolling away.

The giant lock was then sent to the sin-bin by referee Luke Pearce for a deliberate trip on Keith Earls in the 24th minute and despite the numerical advantage, Ireland could not capitalise.

Winger James Lowe was denied a try in the corner with the onfield decision being overruled as the TMO spotted a foot in touch, Brice Dulin and Gael Fickou combing to deny the New Zealander.

France managed to clear their lines and had soon made their way deep into Irish territory for the first try of the game.

Talisman Antoine Dupont was involved in the move three times as fast hands and offloads created space for Ollivon out wide, with the captain taking advantage of a poor defensive read from Jamison Gibson-Park.

When the flanker crossed the stats showed that Ireland had enjoyed 73% of the possession and 84% of the territory.

Jalibert converted and added a penalty just before half-time when Cian Healy failed to roll away from a ruck.

Ireland, beaten by Wales last weekend, had stolen three of the French lineouts and conceded three to France's six penalties but had little to show for their endeavour and trailed 10-3 at the break.

Ireland began the game shorn of 303 caps through injury and suspension of Sexton, Conor Murray, James Ryan and Peter O’Mahony, and were hit with a triple whammy two minutes into the second half.

A sickening head collision between Cian Healy and stand-in captain Iain Henderson robbed Ireland of more experience, with Burns having departed moments earlier, also for a HIA.

It was an extremely scrappy start to the second period with France blowing two excellent chances to extend their lead, sloppy passes by Dupont and Arthur Vincent stalling promising moves with the Irish defence stretched.

But it looked only a matter of time before their dominance told and when man of the match Dulin, who had easily stepped inside Lowe in the 22, fed Penaud, the Clermont winger had an easy job to score in the corner.

Then Ireland hit back.

A challenge on an airborne Earls gave Ireland a lineout inside the France 22 and when a French hand knocked it down it popped up perfectly for replacement hooker Kelleher who ran in for this first international try.

Ross Byrne converted and Ireland were just five points behind with 22 minutes to play. Henderson and Healy had rejoined the fray and Tadhg Furlong had replaced Porter to add some more ballast to the comeback effort.

Another high tackle, one of nine penalties conceded by Fabien Galthie's side, allowed Byrne to reduce the deficit to two points with his second kick of the day.

Reminiscent of the famous late comeback in Paris in 2018, Ireland enjoyed a late spell of possession that ultimately fizzed out just inside the opposition half. 

Italy are the visitors to the Aviva in two weeks' time. 

Ireland: Hugo Keenan, Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe, Billy Burns, Jamison Gibson-Park; Cian Healy, Rob Herring, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Beirne, Iain Henderson, Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier, CJ Stander. 

Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Dave Kilcoyne, Tadhg Furlong, Ultan Dillane, Will Connors, Craig Casey, Ross Byrne, Jordan Larmour. 

France: Brice Dulin, Damian Penaud, Arthur Vincent, Gael Fickou, Gabin Villiere, Matthieu Jalibert, Antoine Dupont; Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand, Mohamed Haouas, Bernard Le Roux, Paul Willemse, Anthony Jelonch, Charles Ollivon (captain), Gregory Alldritt.

Replacements: Pierre Bourgarit, Hassane Kolingar, Uini Atonio, Romain Taofifenua, Dylan Cretin, Baptiste Serin, Anthony Boutier, Teddy Thomas. 

Referee: Luke Pearce (RFU)