Ireland answered their critics with a confidence-restoring display full of endeavour but they were still flattened 38-18 by New Zealand at Aviva Stadium.
With their backs to the wall following poor displays against South Africa and Samoa, the Irish played with far more conviction in front of an autumn-best crowd of 46,302.
Stephen Ferris scored a controversial try while Brian O'Driscoll also touched down with Declan Kidney's side producing some thrilling rugby, especially in a dominant final quarter.
But once again the All Blacks' ruthless finishing proved critical, with Kieran Read scoring two tries and Anthony Boric and Sam Whitelock also crossing.
The real damage was done in a four-minute burst shortly after half-time which saw Read and Whitelock cross to establish a 33-13 lead that Ireland had little hope of reeling in.
Fly-half Dan Carter kept the scoreboard ticking over and missed out on becoming the highest scorer in Test history by just three points, his haul of 18 leaving him just short of Jonny Wilkinson's mark of 1,178.
The Irish crossed in the 31st minute as they surged into the lead, though the scoring pass for Ferris' try was clearly forward. Having stretched New Zealand with a series of dynamic raids, they went wide where Jamie Heaslip found the onrushing Ferris, but referee Marius Jonker failed to spot the direction of the offload.
The All Blacks responded emphatically as Boric ended a series of runs by crashing over with a minute of the half remaining and five minutes into the second half a brilliant move started from deep in their own half with Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Jerome Kaino involved created a brilliant try finished by Read.
Ireland's defence, which had performed heroics in the first half, had disintegrated and four minutes later the All Blacks crossed again through substitute Whitelock. The final pass from Richie McCaw was forward but once again Jonker had missed it, though the odds were now even after Ferris had earlier enjoyed a lucky escape. Carter converted both tries.
A lung-busting run from Heaslip brought the Aviva Stadium to its feet and the passage of play eventually came to an end when O'Driscoll showed remarkable hands to pick up a grounded ball and dive over. Read then had the final say when he thundered over for his second try.