England (3) 13

Try: Care

Pens: Farrell 2

Conversions: Farrell

Ireland (0) 10

Try: Kearney

Pens: Sexton

Conversions: Sexton

England enhanced their Six Nations championship pursuit by ending Ireland's grand slam hopes with victory in a thrilling contest at Twickenham.

Rob Kearney's early second half try and Jonny Sexton's penalty looked likely to send Ireland to the triple crown but 10 unanswered England points halted their charge, with Danny Care grabbing the decisive score following a flowing move.

The result leaves England, France, Ireland and Wales all on two championship wins after three matches in the tightest of battles for northern hemisphere supremacy for many years.

If England's pre-match routine saw a significant alteration after the decision to walk through the West Car Park at Twickenham prior to kick-off, Stuart Lancaster's team suffered little disruption following the thrashing of Scotland, with the only change seeing David Wilson replacing the injured Dan Cole.

Ireland's squad was no stranger to the pomp and circumstance of Test match rugby as Joe Schmidt fielded a XV boasting 724 caps with centre Brian O'Driscoll's Twickenham farewell coinciding with his 139th international appearance – equalling George Gregan's all-time record.

The subtext of a potential Irish triple crown was lost behind the pursuit of the Six Nations championship which following Wales' thumping win over France, remained wide open with both England and Ireland seeking the decisive upper hand.

Both sides began at a typically frenetic pace and though Ireland won an early penalty against the head from the game's opening scrum, it was England who almost drew first blood when Jonny May went over, but video replays showed the Gloucester wing on his Twickenham debut lost the ball forward.

The Irish sought to be more clinical but despite O'Driscoll, Kearney and Gordon D'Arcy all going close England held firm but more pressure was invited when Owen Farrell conceded a penalty after a late tackle on Conor Murray.

The Saracens fly half capitalised on his reprieve to put England ahead with a penalty after Paul O'Connell infringed but falling behind did little to nullify the Ireland threat as their dominance at the scrum continued.

Farrell spurned the chance to extend England's lead after striking the upright with a second penalty but the underlining Ireland threat remained even if it wasn't reflected in the scoreline, with Andrew Trimble unable to reign a hanging kick in after getting the wrong side of May.

A tight but entertaining first half was replaced by a thrilling start to the second 40 minutes, with Ireland going over almost immediately after the restart as Kearney grabbed his 11th international try.

Sexton cemented the second half momentum shift with a simple penalty but England kept in touch as after a barrage of pressure – which lacked genuine cutting edge throughout - as Farrell slotted over his second penalty.

But England eased fears over their attacking thrust with a length of the field move to storm into the lead. Farrell and Chris Robshaw combined in the middle to release Mike Brown who found the onrushing Care; as the Harlequins trio ruthlessly cut through Ireland.

The England errors persisted however as Jack Nowell kicked out on the full to give Ireland good position and though Sexton knocked on, another turned scrum gave the away side a foothold in the attacking third.

A failure to take advantage defined Ireland's attacking capacity in the second half as England's defence held out for the most crucial of wins to keep alive their own hopes of claiming the triple crown and ensure the 2014 championship continues to keep everyone guessing.

England: 15-Brown, 14-Nowell, 13-Burrell, 12-Twelvetrees, 11-May, 10-Farrell, 9-Care; 1- Marler, 2-Hartley, 3-Wilson, 4-Launchbury, 5-Lawes, 6-Wood, 7-Robshaw (captain), 8-Vunipola

Replacements:16-T Youngs, 17-Vunipola, 18-Thomas, 19-Attwood, 20-Morgan, 21-Dickson, 22-Ford, 23-Goode

Ireland: 15-Kearney, 14-Trimble, 13-O'Driscoll, 12-D'Arcy, 11-Kearney, 10-Sexton, 9-Murray; 1-Healy, 2-Best, 3-Ross, 4-Toner, 5-O'Connell (captain), 6-O'Mahony, 7-Henry, 8-Heaslip.

Replacements:16-Cronin, 17-McGrath, 18-Moore, 19-Henderson, 20-Murphy, 21-Boss, 22-Jackson, 23-McFadden.