An impressive first-half display was topped off with a wonderful goal from Hourihane on the 35th minute.
Weather conditions were mooted as one of the reasons for a disappointing Irish display in Gibraltar, but they couldn’t have asked for a better night in the Aviva Stadium this evening.
If the opening 20 minutes of the game are anything to go by, it showed that perhaps the conditions on the Rock played as big a role as was said.
Ireland were much sharper than the visitors and could’ve been 1-0 up after 10 minutes when Conor Hourihane had his shot saved by Loria in the Georgia net.
Jeff Hendrick picked the pocket of Nike Kvekveskiri in the middle of the park, played through Hourihane - the Aston Villa man probably should have scored, but Loria got down well.
As rumoured, tennis balls came drizzling onto the pitch on the 33rd minute in protest of John Delaney’s new role as Executive Vice President - a protest which was met with a mixed response from the home fans who feared it might disrupt Irish momentum.
The tennis ball protest did happen at the Aviva
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) March 26, 2019
Waiting patiently for the pitch to be cleared was Hourihane standing over a free-kick from around 25-yards out.
The interruption didn’t seem to bother the Cork man though, as he curled the ball around the Georgian wall and into the net to give Ireland the lead.
Georgia almost struck back on the verge of half-time when Shane Duffy was caught under a high ball, it was headed back into the penalty box, but Randolph was at hand to provide the save.
Ireland built on an impressive first-half performance playing some promising football after the break.
Jeff Hendrick had the ball in the back of the net for the second time in two games after 57 minutes but it was ruled out for offside.
Man of the Match, David McGoldrick was also unlucky not to have grabbed a goal - the Sheffield United man worked tirelessly throughout the game and had a chance to double Ireland's lead 70 minutes in - but a heavy touch around the keeper ran out and wide.
A promising display from Mick McCarthy's men on a week where off-field issues could have translated onto to the pitch.
McCarthy did well to get his team in the right mind-frame for this game and has plenty to work with before Ireland's clash with Denmark in June.