There was a certain amount of self destruction this afternoon. There was plenty of effort and commitment but it wasn't always channeled in the right way.
There were handling errors a plenty, the defence wasn't up to scratch and plenty of scoring opportunities spurned, especially in the second half.
Indiscipline was also prevalent and gave Tom Homer way too many shots at goal in the opening quarter and the Aviva Premiership's top scorer needed no second invitation to ease his team into a handy lead.
Gloucester dug deep and scored the game's first try but saw the game swing away from them just before half time when two tries from the Exiles were the proverbial kick in the guts.
The second half was a disjointed fractious affair. Jim Hamilton and David Paice were both sent off and both teams were forced into an unscheduled reshuffle.
It affected Gloucester badly and Irish were able to take full advantage in the final quarter as they scored a couple of tries from distance after Gloucester were turned over looking for consolation scores.
It was a desperately sad way to end a season which has promised so much only a few short weeks ago and an unfortunate note for certain players to end their Kingsholm careers.
Gloucester will hurt after this and rightly so. But they should remember this feeling and learn from it to ensure that they don't experience it again.
Only 12 months ago, Sale Sharks were sent packing from Kingsholm with their tails between their legs after a 70 point pummelling. They bounced back and so must Gloucester.
The game got underway at a somewhat subdued Madejski Stadium. Both teams had seen their respective seasons peter out somewhat in recent weeks and the stands were barely half full.
A tentative opening couple of minutes saw boot put to ball frequently and neither side gain any real ascendancy as defence ruled the roost.
Perhaps predictably, the first scoring opportunity was a penalty, given as Gloucester lost their bind at a scrum. Homer went for the posts from inside his own half and duly bisected the posts.
However, this was promptly matched by Freddie Burns as Irish botched the restart and were caught fielding the ball in an offside position as the ball bounced loose.
Gloucester then coughed up possession in a good attacking position and found themselves back in their own 22. A penalty duly followed with the defence stretched and Homer made no mistake to put Irish back in front.
Another frustrating penalty wasn't far behind as Strokosch detached too quickly from a set scrum and Homer was on target for a third time for a 9-3 lead after 16 minutes.
This soon became 12-3 as Gloucester were again pinged at the scrum as Homer continued to put the boot into the Cherry and Whites.
Irish weren't having to work hard for their points at this stage. It was a case of waiting for the error or indiscretion and taking the points on offer.
Gloucester responded with their best spell of the game as they finally maintained possession through multiple phases and, eventually, Tom Voyce crossed on the right for the game's first try.
Once again, however, Irish simply had to wait for the error and it came instantly. Lewis' box kick was half charged down and the resulting play led to another penalty from Homer.
Then Irish clicked into gear and dealt Gloucester a real blow. They deftly exploited the blindside and Delon Armitage floated an inside pass for scrum half Allinson to step the final man and score. Homer, naturally, converted.
Burns responded with a penalty as Irish again failed to control the restart but Gloucester needed to dig deep in the final few minutes before half time.
And they simply couldn't hold out as the Exiles' ability to offload out of the tackle cut the defence apart. Allinson found Tagikacibau on the inside and he had too much gas for the cover. Homer had an easy conversion for 29-11.
When Jonathan Joseph brushed aside Sharples, clearly feeling his shoulder injury, moments later, the centre sprinted clear for the third try from halfway and a 34-11 lead.
Gloucester were simply not at the races. Handling errors, missed tackles and indiscipline were gifting this one to the Exiles and a huge amount of pride would have to be displayed if this wasn't going to become a rout.
Gloucester were quickly on the back foot and defended their line stoutly but then it all kicked off after an incident in midfield.
Jim Hamilton and David Paice were yellow carded after a scuffle on halfway with Gloucester actually awarded a penalty. Words were exchanged as they left the field and more blows followed with all players joining in.
Referee Pearson eventually restored order and, after discussion with his assistant, brandished red cards to both Hamilton and Paice.
The game settled briefly but bad went to worse for Gloucester as Mike Tindall was yellow carded for pulling a man back off the ball and Homer slotted his sixth penalty of the afternoon for 37-11.
Gloucester had some scoring chances as their pack pummelled the Irish line but couldn't fight their way over and Charlie Sharples just couldn't gather a grubber from Burns. It was that kind of day.
And the agony continued as Marland Yarde gathered a chip over the defensive line to shrug off Ollie Phillips' attempted tackle and score with his first touch, swiftly followed by a 40 metre effort from Delon Armitage.
Injuries were now taking their toll and Gloucester had men playing out of position including Tindall on the flank and Dan Robson on the wing.
The Cherry and Whites did keep going right until the very end in search of a try but ambitious offloading only resulted in an interception and a second try for Yarde.
It comes as small consolation but Gloucester did at least have the final word as they finally crossed the Irish line, Tom Voyce shrugging off a challenge to touch down.
The celebrations were muted. In the circumstances, the score meant little.
|London Irish Score Card|
|Gloucester Rugby Score Card|