Match ends, Republic of Ireland 1, Georgia 0.
Republic of Ireland 1-0 Georgia
Seamus Coleman's first international goal gave the Republic of Ireland a narrow victory over Georgia in their 2018 World Cup qualifier in Dublin.
Coleman, 27, made a strong run down the right, cut into the box and slotted home after the ball ricocheted into his path thanks to two fortunate rebounds.
It was a victory which the Irish barely deserved from a match which produced little creativity and goalmouth action.
The Republic are one of four Group D teams with four points from two games.
Closely contested group
Austria and Wales drew 2-2 in Vienna and Serbia won 3-0 in Moldova in Thursday's other two Group D encounters - suggesting this could be a very competitive group.
For Martin O'Neill's men, this match and Sunday's game with Moldova represent an important few days in their quest to reach the finals in Russia, with anything less than six points a blow to their qualification hopes.
With only the group winners guaranteed an automatic place in the finals, the chance to pick up maximum points against the supposed two weakest teams in the group is crucial to Ireland's ambitions of qualifying for a first World Cup finals since 2002.
The Republic had won all of their previous seven contests with the Georgians, six of them in competitive fixtures, including two one-goal victories in the qualifiers for Euro 2016.
But on Thursday, Georgia, who had lost 2-1 at home to Austria in their opening group game, posed the greater threat in a largely uninspiring first half.
Valeri Kazaishvilli turned and fired a left-foot shot wide of the post in the 17th minute and then the visitors struck the woodwork twice in quick succession with eight minutes of the half remaining.
Levan Mchedlidze thundered a header off the crossbar and when the home side failed to clear, the ball fell to Guram Kashia, whose looping header back over Darren Randolph bounced off the post.
Under-strength Republic battle to three points
The game was the Republic's first since O'Neill signed a deal to continue as manager until the end of the present campaign - and their first competitive home game since reaching the last 16 of Euro 2016.
They started their qualifying campaign with a 2-2 draw in Belgrade last month but Daryl Murphy, the man whose late goal earned them a draw against Serbia, was among eight players ruled out through injury.
Goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, Harry Arter, Stephen Quinn, Kevin Doyle, Aiden McGeady, Anthony Pilkington and Marc Wilson were also absent.
And against a stubborn Georgian side it took an improved second-half performance for O'Neill's team to secure a third win in their last 10 matches.
The Irish showed greater intensity after the resumption and Coleman's strike gave them the boost they needed but scarcely deserved on the balance of play.
James McClean had a header ruled out for offside and the lively West Brom winger later saw another effort cannon off the underside of the bar during a lengthy spell of injury-time caused by a head injury to Robbie Brady, who was forced to retire hurt after receiving treatment following a clash of heads with Georgia defender Solomon Kverkvelia.
The Football Association of Ireland later said Brady was conscious in the dressing room but went to hospital as a precaution for a scan.
Man of the match - Seamus Coleman
The new Republic of Ireland skipper provided the crucial moment of inspiration which culminated in him breaking the deadlock in a largely forgettable game.
Coleman, who will celebrate his 28th birthday on Tuesday, was winning his 40th cap.
The Republic travel to Chisinau to face Moldova in three days' time, followed by another away day against Austria in Vienna in November. Wales are at home to Georgia on Sunday, while Serbia host the Austrians.
Burnley's Jeff Hendrick will miss the trip to Moldova after picking up his second yellow card of the campaign, while Brady looks likely to add to O'Neill's injury worries after picking up his nasty looking head injury late in the game.
R. of Ireland
- 13HendrickBooked at 83mins
- 10BradySubstituted forWhelanat 81'minutes
- 9LongSubstituted forO'Sheaat 90+4'minutes
- 22NavalovskiSubstituted forKobakhidzeat 89'minutes
- 6DaushviliSubstituted forKacharavaat 90+3'minutes
- 7AnanidzeSubstituted forSkhirtladzeat 74'minutes
- 23MchedlidzeBooked at 87mins
- Tony Chapron
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Republic of Ireland 1, Georgia 0.
Foul by Guram Kashia (Georgia).
Shane Duffy (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Tornike Okriashvili (Georgia) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Substitution, Republic of Ireland. John O'Shea replaces Shane Long.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Substitution, Georgia. Nika Kacharava replaces Murtaz Daushvili.
Delay in match Shane Long (Republic of Ireland) because of an injury.
James McClean (Republic of Ireland) hits the bar with a header from the centre of the box. Assisted by Jonathan Walters with a cross.
Substitution, Georgia. Aleksandr Kobakhidze replaces Giorgi Navalovski.
Foul by Davit Skhirtladze (Georgia).
Stephen Ward (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Levan Mchedlidze (Georgia) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Levan Mchedlidze (Georgia).
Ciaran Clark (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Jeff Hendrick (Republic of Ireland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Giorgi Navalovski (Georgia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jeff Hendrick (Republic of Ireland).
Foul by Guram Kashia (Georgia).
Shane Long (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Substitution, Republic of Ireland. Glenn Whelan replaces Robbie Brady because of an injury.
Delay in match Robbie Brady (Republic of Ireland) because of an injury.
Attempt missed. Robbie Brady (Republic of Ireland) header from very close range is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Shane Long with a headed pass.
Substitution, Georgia. Davit Skhirtladze replaces Jano Ananidze.
Attempt missed. Levan Mchedlidze (Georgia) left footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Giorgi Navalovski.
Attempt missed. James McClean (Republic of Ireland) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by James McCarthy.
Offside, Republic of Ireland. Ciaran Clark tries a through ball, but Shane Long is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Valerian Gvilia (Georgia) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt saved. James McClean (Republic of Ireland) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Stephen Ward.
Corner, Georgia. Conceded by James McCarthy.
Attempt blocked. Valerian Gvilia (Georgia) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Giorgi Navalovski.
Corner, Georgia. Conceded by Jeff Hendrick.
Offside, Republic of Ireland. Jonathan Walters tries a through ball, but James McClean is caught offside.
Otar Kakabadze (Georgia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by James McClean (Republic of Ireland).
Attempt saved. Shane Long (Republic of Ireland) with an attempt from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by James McClean with a cross.
Hand ball by Levan Mchedlidze (Georgia).
Goal! Republic of Ireland 1, Georgia 0. Seamus Coleman (Republic of Ireland) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal.