However, Toby Booth's side couldn't contain Gloucester in a pulsating second quarter and their discipline slipped which enabled Nicky Robinson to kick Gloucester into an unassailable position.
The second half didn't live up to the first which wasn't surprising given the warm conditions and the pace that the first half was played at.
However, Gloucester were in control and only a couple of last gasp tries from the visitors gave the score a flattering look for the Exiles whereas Gloucester would have been disappointed not to get a try scoring bonus point.
Gloucester took the field to a raucous reception from the Kingsholm crowd and kicked off towards the Tump End on a warm and sunny afternoon.
Olly Morgan was prominent in the opening stages with some spectacular high ball takes and the crowd thought Lesley Vainikolo was through for the first score as he chased Nicky Robinson's grubber on four minutes but the assistant referee saw a forward pass in the build up.
Gloucester were enjoying some early success in the scrums and won a penalty from the resulting scrum as the Irish front row stood up and Robinson slotted a confident penalty from just outside the 10m line.
It had been all Gloucester in the opening minutes but there was a brief scare when a Mapusua grubber got away from Morgan in the home 22 but an Irish knock on relieved the pressure briefly.
However, Gloucester held onto the ball as they tried to move away from the next scrum only to be let off the hook as Chris Malone hooked his penalty wide.
Robinson's excellent kick then put Gloucester within a metre of the Irish line but a series of penalties conceded allowed the Exiles to move into the home 22 and drive to within inches of a try with only desperate defence keeping them at bay.
Akapusi Qera was yellow carded, however, for hands in the ruck near the Gloucester line and Irish replacement Tom Homer levelled the scores after 19 minutes.
John Rudd promptly dropped the restart to give Gloucester prime field position. Gloucester remained patient and worked the phases until Robinson's beautifully weighted cross kick was caught on the run by Lesley Vainikolo for the first try of the game. Robinson's conversion shaved the wrong side of the post but it was 8-3 after 21 minutes.
The game continued at a breathless pace and Gloucester were coping well without Qera and earned the next chance at points as Delon Armitage failed to roll away from the tackle area and Robinson kicked a fine penalty from wide out for 11-3 after 27 minutes.
Robinson was then gifted another penalty attempt after he was taken out late kicking downfield and the fly half dusted himself off to make the score 14-3.
Discipline was hurting the Exiles and, when Jamie Gibson failed to release the tackler, Robinson had a third opportunity in five minutes and made no mistake for 17-3.
Gloucester were running hot and a Qera to Vainikolo offload almost brought another score whilst Simpson-Daniel looked to have put Mike Tindall in for a try only to be called back for a forward pass.
Irish frustrations boiled over as Delon Armitage was yellow carded for an off the ball incident late confirmed as a late tackle and Robinson's fifth penalty opened up a 20-3 lead.
It prompted a response from Irish and Steffon Armitage almost burst clear but Irish lost the ball in contact and James Simpson-Daniel gathered to run in from 60 metres. Robinson added an easy conversion for 27-3 as half time approached.
So, Gloucester took a healthy lead into the half time break and were good value for it. A strong start had been followed by a half decent Irish fightback but Bryan Redpath's side had turned on the style in the second quarter.
Charlie Sharples replaced Vainikolo at the interval much to the relief of the Irish defence and the Exiles came out strongly with a series of penalties giving them good field position.
Chris Malone was able to kick for the corner a couple of times and, eventually, the Irish pack battered their way over for a try which was credited to Steffon Armitage but Malone's try hit the upright and stayed out.
Gloucester had looked a little flat at the start of the second period but Akapusi Qera lifted the crowd with a couple of massive tackles.
It had been a better spell for the visitors and they had shown more of what they are capable of but Rory Lawson's neat grubber to the corner forced Armitage to carry the ball over his own line abd set the scene for Greg Somerville and the Gloucester pack.
Several penalties were awarded as the Exiles struggled to keep Gloucester at bay and referee Davey eventually Dan Murphy was sinbinned for persistent infringement. However, Irish somehow held out with the crowd baying for a penalty try which wasn't given.
Ironically, the try eventually came from open field play as Tim Molenaar set up the platform from which the ball was swiftly moved right with a lovely long miss pass from Robinson and Alasdair Dickinson dummied his way over with Robinson adding a superb touchline conversion for 34-8.
Sharples pulled off a try saving tackle on Delon Armitage as Irish went after a consolation score but brother Steffon was the one to barge his way over near the posts after some sustained forward pressure to allow Ryan Lamb an easy conversion for 34-15.
Sharples was again called on in defence as the Exiles continued to press with time up on the clock and they were eventually had the last word as prop Dan Murphy bundled his way over.
34-20 the final score and a considerably better win for Gloucester than the scoreline may suggest.
The game was always in the bag after a superb second quarter and the only frustration would have been missing out on the bonus point.
All in all though, a good way to sign off at Kingsholm for 2009-10 as Gloucester did their lap of honour and thanked their supporters for the superb backing they've received all season.
|Gloucester Rugby Score Card|
|London Irish Score Card|