Two tries from wing Niall Morris and two penalty tries gave Tigers maximum points from the trip to Madejski Stadium and lifted the team into third place in the table after 11 rounds of fixtures.
“It’s an important result for us and that extra point is huge,” said Cockerill after a fourth Tigers win in the last five visits to the Madejski.
“We were really good in the first half and we had opportunities to score more points but didn’t take them. We made a couple of good line-breaks but coughed up ball or made the wrong pass.
“Then in the second half we looked like we expected things to happen which was disappointing and Irish got back into it and got a bit of momentum.
“They had two line-breaks when we were just 14-9 up and they could have scored there, but we’ll take the five points on the road. It is a good return for us.”
Tigers welcomed back Toby Flood at fly-half, and he played a prominent role in creating the opening score for Morris, firing a kick from a penalty across the field for the Irishman to claim and beat the last two defenders to score.
Then Tigers claimed two penalty tries – one at a scrum and then when Morris was tackled without the ball as he chased his own chip into the corner and looked to dot down –before Morris added a fine second try to secure the bonus point just one minute from the final whistle.
“Niall took his tries well,” said Cockerill. “You don’t see their back three out-paced very often.”
Tigers came through the game without any added injury worries, and Cockerill says Steve Mafi, Tom Croft and Dan Bowden are also on the way back from injury.