Last gasp Geraghty clinches win
A last minute drop goal from Shane Geraghty sent Exeter down to a fourth consecutive Premiership defeat in an error ridden game at the Madejski Stadium.
Exeter looked in control at the interval but they had a disastrous third quarter and fell away to another hugely disappointing 28-26 loss.
Exeter were outscored by four tries to two and it was only the immaculate goal kicking of Gareth Steenson, which kept the Chiefs in contention.
Blair Cowan scored two of the Irish tries, Tom Guest and Alex Lewington the others, while Geraghty kicked a conversion and dropped that goal with Tom Homer adding a penalty.
Exeter managed only two tries through Dean Mumm and Dave Ewers with Steenson kicking four penalties and two conversions.
Irish made a poor start, fumbling the kick off and losing the first scrum on their own put in. This allowed the Chiefs to dominate the opening exchanges and they had the first chance for points but Henry Slade's penalty kick bounced back off a post.
Irish had the first try scoring opportunity but Geraghty took the wrong option which prevented them from seizing it. Thirty metres out from the visitors' line, Geraghty was given possession with a clear overlap in his favour but instead of passing, he put in a speculative cross field kick, which Jack Nowell fielded to clear the danger.
When Lewington dropped Slade's up and under, Exeter were given another platform in the home 22 but this time they capitalised by taking the lead. Thomas Waldrom and Slade were narrowly denied as they drove for the line, so they had to rely on a Steenson penalty to put them ahead.
Minutes later, Geraghty had his first kick at goal but his attempt from halfway, fell just short. However Exeter soon conceded another scrummage penalty and this time Irish elected for an attacking line-out and were immediately rewarded when Cowan was driven over.
It was Irish's turn to commit a scrummage offence and Steenson made no mistake with his kick to put back in front.
Another error from Lewington presented the Chiefs were their first try. The wing knocked on in his own 22 for Exeter to take advantage with Mumm forcing his way over for the try, which Steenson converted for a 13-5 interval lead.
The second half started badly for the hosts when Andrew Fenby knocked on when under no pressure and when Irish were penalised, at the resulting scrum, Slade's penalty fell just under the crossbar.
After 46 minutes, Irish scored their second try when following a pre-planned line-out move, Cowan and David Paice combined to create the try for Guest, which Geraghty converted.
Two minutes later, Irish were over again. Fergus Mulchrone's pass gave Lewington the chance to redeem his early errors and he did so by holding off the attentions of Moray Low, Slade and Ewers to squeeze in for the try.
Exeter suffered a further blow as replacement Low was injured in that action and was carried off on a stretcher. A miserable third quarter for the Chiefs was completed when a neat pass from Geraghty sent Cowan in for his second try to leave the visitors trailing 22-13 with 20 minutes remaining.
Chiefs responded when Sam Hill rang strongly to put the home defence on the back allowing Ewers to crash over for the try which Steenson converted.
Homer and Steenson exchanged penalties to set up an exciting finish; Steenson's fourth penalty saw Chiefs ahead before Geraghty's very late strike gave Irish a morale boosting win.