Ireland beat Italy 36-6 in the final pool match of the Rugby World Cup tournament on Sunday night in Dunedin.
Captain Brian O'Driscoll scored an early second half try that broke open a tight tussle to help Ireland to victory.
Winger Keith Earls also scored two second half tries for Ireland, who went unbeaten through the group phase to qualify top of Pool C.
Winger Mirco Bergamasco kicked two first half penalties for the Italians, who went into the break 9-6 down and within sight of an upset that could have propelled them into the last eight for the first time.
The match was punctuated by several off-the-ball incidents with Italy's Leonardo Ghiraldini provoking an angry response from Ireland prop Cian Healey, who claimed the hooker had eye gouged him.
Television replays showed Ghiraldini had made contact with Healy's eyes twice.
Ireland: Tries: Brian O'Driscoll, Keith Earls 2. Conversions: Ronan O'Gara 2, Joanthan Sexton. Penalties: O'Gara 4, Sexton.
Italy: Penalties: Mirco Bergamasco 2.
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)