Martin O’Neill’s first competitive game as Republic of Ireland manager ended in a 1-2 win over a spirited Georgia side.
Aiden McGeady won the game for the Irish, hitting a brace, one in either half, his second coming in second half added time.
He gave the Irish the lead 24 minutes into the match but a stunning goal by Tornike Okriashvili 14 minutes later pegged them back.
Okriashvili, who plays his club football for Racing Genk in Belgium, hit a long range dipping shot past a despairing David Forde and for a while looked to ensure that the hosts would not finish their opening game empty handed.
It was not the case though as McGeady back with an impressive winner in the 90th minute – a clever turn of feet on the edge of the area and then accurately scoring with his left foot.
Ireland’s first came somewhat against the run of play, Jon Walters’ header from Forde’s goal kick set up James McCarthy who exploited a gap in the Georgian defence to tee up his Everton colleague.
McGeady then had the relatively simple task of finishing past Giorgi Loria in the Georgia goal.
Georgia: Loria (Kvaskhvadze ’45), Lobzhanidze, S Kverkvelia, Kashia, Khubutia, Kankava, Daushvili, Gelashvili, Ananidze (Targamadze ’63), Okriashvili (Mchedlidze ’88), D Kverkvelia
Subs not used: Migineishvili, Grigalava, Ebralidze, Khmaladze, Kobakhidze, Kazaishvili, Dzarla, Rekhviashvili
Republic of Ireland: Forde, Coleman, O’Shea, Wilson, Ward, Walters, McCarthy (Meyler ’90), Whelan, Quinn (Brady ’76), McGeady, Keane (Long ’76)
Subs not used: Given, Elliot, Keogh, Pilkington, Pearce, Gibson, Hoolahan, Murphy, Doyle
Man of the match: Aiden McGeady