Knowing the bonus point was a Must, Ireland continued in the second half strongly with try number 3, this time from Conor Murray, Sexton again making no mistake from the conversion. The convoluted bonus point system, which has added nothing to the Six Nations but needless arithmetic, meant England now needed to score four tries and beat France even to have a chance of winning a third consecutive championship.
Eddie Jones insists England are negotiating an inevitable slump where the "game does not love you" after France handed Ireland the Six Nations rugby title by prevailing 22-16 over his team in Paris.
"I'd be lying if I said [the Slam wasn't the goal]", Sexton said after the France result came through and confirmed Ireland as winners.
"Although he (Ford) has had his moments in friendlies and games when England get on top, he is struggling in games that really matter".
'It was a great performance for France. We gave Ireland penalties when they wanted penalties. "We'll have to look at how we can be more clinical".
Ireland wouldn't have a Grand Slam shot against England next weekend if Sexton hadn't kicked a 45-meter dropped goal in the 83rd minute to beat France 15-13 in Paris in the opening round.
The bonus-point fourth try came with 11 minutes to go, when hooker Sean Cronin, only three minutes after replacing Best, dived over from the back of a rolling maul.
Ireland have previously denied England a Grand Slam and Woodward has urged the hosts to return the favour in next Saturday's highly-anticipated fixture at Twickenham.
'But it won't be uppermost in our thinking because you can be distracted looking back when you need to be moving forward. The players have worked hard to get a medal for Josh, the players have worked hard to get a medal for Robbie (Henshaw) and for Chris (Farrell).
Machenaud converted another penalty as France extended their lead to 10 points but the visitors reduced the arrears six minutes from time when May touched down in the corner after England stole yet another French line-out.
Peter Horne gifted Joe Schmidt's men the opener in Dublin midway through the first period when his pass was intercepted by Jacob Stockdale. Only New Zealand are ahead of Ireland, the All Blacks are way out in front with 93.99 points.
Schmidt has yet to guide a side to a win in the English capital or claim a Grand Slam while in charge - though he did secure back-to-back title wins in 2014 and 2015. 'Have they earned it?
I don't think Ireland will change much from what they've been doing up to now. They didn't react to Nigel Owens' interpretation of the breakdown two weeks ago and then on Saturday they didn't react and adapt to Jaco Peyper's strict reffing of it. They have fought out incredibly tough finishes.
"That's how you build a team - with a defence, because you can see that every player fights for the other".