Yet they simply couldn't convert their chances, as Scotland defended superbly. Hamilton reigned supreme at the lineout, regularly securing possession for his own team and disrupting the Irish effort.
The stats will tell one story, the scoreboard another. With debutant Luke Marshall producing a couple of defence shredding breaks early on, Ireland edged every category - territory, possession, metres made etc.
But not where it mattered - points scored...
Declan Kidney's side will be wondering how on earth they only led 3-0 at half time. Even then Stuart Hogg could have levelled matters with the last kick of the half but was off target with a long range penalty.
However, when Craig Gilroy finally crossed the Irish line shortly after the restart, it looked as though the floodgates would finally open.
It didn't turn out that way. Paddy Jackson continued to have an off day with the boot, while Scotland made the most of every opportunity that came their way - Greig Laidlaw slotting four penalties.
It was tense right until the very end.
Scotland merely needed to secure their own scrum ball and hoof the ball off the pitch to end the game, but conceded a penalty and had to defend for their lives until an Irish knock on brought a close to proceedings.