Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony says his side are “not getting carried away” in their quest to win back-to-back Six Nations Grand Slams for the first time.
Paul Willemse was sent off for the players while Jamison Gibson-Park, Tadhg Beirne, Calvin Nash, Dan Sheehan and Ronan Kelleher all hit.
“It was a good start and a good performance,” O’Mahony told ITV Sport.
Since France won the Grand Slam in 2022 and Ireland repeated the following year, the opening match of the 2024 Six Nations has been tipped as a potential title or Grand Slam decider.
Willemse’s red card after 30 minutes, which came as a result of two yellow cards for shouldering Andrew Porter and Caelan Doris, put France in serious danger in front of their home support.
However, the French put on a strong display and every time Ireland crossed to beat the hosts they came back to connect. O’Mahony was sent to the sin-bin after a Paul Gabrillagues try early in the second half, but Ireland weathered the storm and late goals from Sheehan and Kelleher sealed the win.
Victory will always come with the warning of a red card, but Ireland were aggressive and in control, but still have room for improvement as the tournament progresses.
No country has ever won back-to-back Grand Slam titles, but, with three home games to come, Ireland are in a good position to try.
“We’re not going to get carried away here. We’ve got a bit of energy,” added O’Mahony, who replaced Johnny Sexton as captain after he retired.
“It was to do well that you want to start a campaign like this. We will go and review it and we want to do well. This is what we want to do and start.”
O’Mahony added that he is a “hard worker” and was proud of his team’s performance at the Stade Velodrome.
“It’s hard to sum it up, it was a very testing game. I’m very proud of the boys and the way we controlled the game. We were cold under some decisions and we made it.
“It got really difficult in the last 10 minutes and we went 14 down with my yellow card, but we always had a plan. We didn’t get caught up in the good or bad moments.
“I thought we let a few chances go. There were a few unnecessary penalties on our side when we should have been more disciplined.
“I think this game is all about taking your chances. Against good sides like France, they don’t come often, but tonight I think we took our chances well.”
Ireland head coach Farrell says his players “got what we deserved” after playing the full 80 minutes.
“Any win here, on Friday night to kick off the Six Nations, is always going to be a tough job,” he said.
“For me to get a bonus benefit, yeah, that’s special.
“I was proud of the game because we kept playing for the whole 80 minutes and got what we deserved at the end.
“When you play with 14 men sometimes you are a little bit ahead and the tendency is to close shop a little bit. We kept playing and got what we deserved at the end.”
Farrell has put his faith in young players, including Jack Crowley, winger Nash and second rower Joe McCarthy, who has been selected as a player for Marseille.
“These are guys that have been in this team for the last couple of years,” Farrell added.
“We don’t doubt that they are ready to play because they show that in training. Some have been patient and waited and others their form confirms that they will enter.
“There were some great games but it’s a 23-man game and these young people can be themselves, and have a lot of confidence because of how they feel about each other. It’s a whole team.”
“It’s a good start. We have Italy next and a good start is always going to be hard to ask here. We’ve done it now so we need to grow on the back of it.”