Conor Hourihane’s first senior international goal handed the Republic of Ireland a deserved Euro 2020 qualifier victory over Georgia as Mick McCarthy was treated to the perfect homecoming.
Ireland, who had scraped their way to a 1-0 win over Group D minnows Gibraltar on Saturday evening, were more than value for the points as they won by the same score at the Aviva Stadium with the Georgians rarely looking like ending their wait for a win over the Irish at the 10th attempt.
Hourihane’s 39th-minute free-kick ultimately settled the game, although goalkeeper Darren Randolph had to make a good reaction save to deny Valerian Gvilia an equaliser and Jaba Kankava hit the post five minutes from time.
However, anything less than victory would have been harsh on the hosts, who rose to the occasion and turned in a stirring display which could and probably should have resulted in a much more convincing scoreline.
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