And Ireland Head Coach Schmidt stressed the difficultly in selecting his starting XV to face the reigning world champion All Blacks.
It was their first win over New Zealand in 29 attempts.
The All Blacks may be top of the rankings but according to their head coach, Steve Hansen, Ireland have overtaken them and become the best team in the world.
Henry's former Ulster and Ireland team-mate Darren Cave is also bullish about Ireland's prospects of toppling the All Blacks and believes that Schmidt will be hugely motivated to upset the world number one team.
Sexton eschewed a facile three-pointer for a penalty line-out but CJ Stander was held up over the line as Ireland punched a midfield hole. Furlong hasn't looked back since that day, and is seen by most as the best tighthead in world rugby right now.
The 16-9 victory at the Aviva is his side's 11th straight win at the Aviva Stadium.
The fit-again full-back rose highest to Sexton's bomb and wriggled over the whitewash, only to be judged to have knocked on in the act of grounding.
In a match billed as being the game of the November series, it was a brutal encounter, but the scoring was left to the respective kickers in the first half - Johnny Sexton and Beauden Barrett - as they traded a brace of three-pointers in the opening half-an-hour.
Ireland's pack pulverised New Zealand at the scrum again, but had to content themselves with another Sexton penalty. Read charged down the effort and had the tryline at his mercy despite a 40-metre run-in - but bungled the ball forwards. Super try from Jacob Stockdale. It was an excellently worked play as Sexton and Bundee Aki combined to provide Stockdale with some space on the short side, but there was still plenty to do and the Ulsterman finished brilliantly.
The All Blacks travel to the Aviva stadium for an intriguing match that's too close to call. "The boys showed up everywhere, tackles that shouldn't have been made, plays that shouldn't have been made", man-of-the-match Peter O'Mahony said in a pitchside interview.
Smith fully expected to collect Barrett's smart grubber and score, only for O'Mahony to sneak the ball away. Barrett's second penalty of the night closed the gap to seven points with 10 minutes to play.
"A guy who played rugby in New Zealand, lived in New Zealand and a proud Kiwi his whole life, to beat them would be wonderful".
Unlike some of the other Autumn Internationals, Ireland vs New Zealand won't be shown on Sky Sports or BT Sports.