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5 things we learned from the Republic of Ireland's win over Georgia


Seamus Coleman popped up at just the right time to score the winner

Seamus Coleman popped up at just the right time to score the winner

Seamus Coleman popped up at just the right time to score the winner

Seamus Coleman secured the first victory of the Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifying campaign as Georgia slipped to an unfortunate Group D defeat in Dublin on Thursday evening.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at five things we learned from a tense encounter.

1. Ireland somehow find a way

Martin O'Neill's men were a shadow of the side which beat Italy and ran hosts France so close at the Euro 2016 finals during the opening 45 minutes against the Georgians. But they rode their luck and somehow forced a victory to go with the point with which they returned from Serbia, thanks to Daryl Murphy's late equaliser, demonstrating an enduring capacity to pull a result out of the fire.

2. Seamus Coleman's timing is half-decent

Of all the new Ireland captain's estimable powers, goalscoring is not close to the top of the list. His 40th senior appearance for his country yielded his first goal and while it may not have been particularly pretty, it could not have arrived at a more opportune moment.

3. Martin O'Neill is not for turning

There were gasps of outrage from O'Neill's critics when the teamsheet arrived and the name of Wes Hoolahan was included only among the substitutes. Despite the difficulties the Republic encountered during the game, Hoolahan, arguably the most naturally gifted player in the squad, remained unused, perhaps kept in reserve for Sunday's trip to Moldova, where his invention could prove crucial.

4. Georgia are no mugs

Ireland have now played Georgia eight times and have emerged victorious on each occasion. But they have rarely found the going straightforward and were up against it this time around with Tornike Okriashvili, Valeri Kazaishvili and Jano Ananidze probing behind muscular frontman Levan Mchedlidze, giving further credence to O'Neill's prediction that they will make life difficult for their group rivals.

5. Vladimir Weiss may have a point

Georgia's Slovakian head coach made a point of reviewing his team's recent performances after taking up the reins, and was struck by the number of occasions on which misfortune had blighted them. It was to strike with a vengeance once again in Dublin as Mchedlidze and skipper Guram Kashia were both denied by the woodwork before Coleman got the benefit of deflections off both Solomon Kverkvelia and Kashia on his way to scoring the decisive goal.