Johnny Sexton said it was a "dream come true" to win a home Grand Slam on his final Six Nations appearance but stressed Ireland need to keep building as attention turns towards the Rugby World Cup.
Sexton kicked nine points against England to become the record points-scorer in Six Nations history as Ireland registered a 29-16 victory over the 14-man visitors, who had Freddie Steward red-carded at the end of the first half.
Ireland were well below their best but a try in each half from Dan Sheehan, and further scores from Robbie Henshaw and Rob Herring, ensured a memorable finale for their captain in his final competitive appearance in an international match at the Aviva Stadium.
"You couldn't make it up, It's like living in a dream," Sexton told Virgin Media.
"We didn’t play our best but what a team, what a group of coaches. They prepared us so well. We did nothing that they told us, we did the exact opposite and made things hard for ourselves.
"England are a top-class team. To come here and get a win on St Patrick’s weekend is unbelievable.
"We set out to win a Grand Slam at the start of the year. We had a Triple Crown last year, we wanted to build on that, and it came down to today. We talked about this day eight weeks ago.
"We finally got to the big final and we didn’t quite nail it, but we did enough. I'm so proud of the lads to stay in it.
"This is what you dream of as a kid. To have my family here watching me today, it’s dream-come-true stuff. I'm just pinching myself."
Sexton appeared to hurt his leg when attempting to prevent Jamie George from mauling over for a second-half try, and received a huge ovation from the Aviva Stadium crowd as he hobbled off the pitch.
"It doesn't feel like the end," said Sexton. "There's plenty more left in this team. We need to keep building. We certainly need to improve on today."
While Sexton found himself the centre of attention at the final whistle, it was Sheehan who scooped the player of the match award after his two-try salvo.
The hooker was Ireland’s most impactful forward, breaking five tackles as he racked up 77 metres from ten carries.
"You want to be an Irish rugby player but you also want to be a successful one," he told Virgin Media. "A Grand Slam is really special for this whole country. I'm really proud of all the boys.
"I think we’re going [from] strength to strength, learning valuable lessons. I don’t think we played our best game today but you have to be able to win games, no matter which way.
"No matter what form they’re in, the English will always bring a huge test, especially in Dublin. It was the same last year. They're a great team and I'm sure they’ll bounce back.
"It's exactly where we want to be. There’s a very exciting few months coming up. We'll enjoy tonight and then think about that later on."