Australia's grand slam dream is over following a 27-24 defeat to a gutsy Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin despite a stirring second-half comeback.

Trailing 17-0 in the 39th minute on Saturday, Australia scored three straight tries to snatch an unlikely lead with 20 minutes remaining - before Ireland's Keith Earls scored the match-winning try in the 66th minute and the home side defended grimly for the win.

It was a thoroughly deserving victory for Ireland - who lost star flanker Sean O'Brien to a leg injury hours before kick-off, and were also without key playmaker Johnny Sexton.

The win completing a first-ever trio of victories over the southern hemisphere's big three for the Irish.

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Australia had been thoroughly outplayed throughout the first half, before a Dane Haylett-Petty try right before the break gave them hope - and further five- pointers to Tevita Kuridrani and Sefa Naivalu briefly gave them the lead.

But it wasn't to be, as Michael Cheika's men became the latest Wallaby side to fail to emulate the grand slam feats of the 1984 side.

The Wallabies were fortunate to go into halftime down 17-7, having been outplayed across the park and dominated in every statistical measurement.

A wonderful try in the final seconds of the first half, finished off by Haylett- Petty following runs and offloads by Michael Hooper and Israel Folau, gave the visitors a rare glimmer of hope in an otherwise barren 40 minutes.

The Wallabies - on the wrong side of an 8-1 penalty count - enjoyed a meagre 28 per cent possession and 23 per cent territory in a hopelessly one-sided half in which flanker Dean Mumm spent ten minutes in the sin bin.

Mumm was yellow-carded for lifting the legs of Irish prop Tadgh Furlong in a ruck.

The Australians were punished immediately, as a clever grubber from replacement fullback Simon Zebo was regathered by Earls - who quickly offloaded to a rampaging Iain Henderson, who crossed to give the home side a 10-0 advantage.

The Wallabies fumed over Ireland's second try, where centre Garry Ringrose split the defence and was rewarded with a five-pointer despite hints of obstruction in the leadup. "There's a lot of off the ball stuff, they're taking me out. Can you keep an eye out for it. It's not good," David Pocock pleaded to referee Jerome Garces.

The halftime break refreshed the Wallabies, who had a Henry Speight try disallowed for a forward pass, three minutes in before centre Kuridrani was the beneficiary of some slick hands in the backline to score out wide.

It was Kuridrani's fourth try in as many games on tour and brings him within one of Mark Ella's famous grand slam of tries from the 1984 tour.

An inch-perfect sideline conversion from Foley - who landed four from four in another outstanding kicking display - drew Australia within three.

After conceding a penalty goal, they went ahead for the first time in the 58th minute through a converted try to winger Naivalu, who hit a gap and crossed for his first Wallaby try.

A Foley penalty goal extended the lead before Earls reclaimed it for Ireland with 14 minutes remaining - and Australia were unable to recover.

Foley was yellow-carded in the dying moments for a dangerous tackle.

- AAP