Debuts for Clinton Morrision (scored), John O Shea and Steven Reid
Clinton Morrisson, the brash 22-year-old Crystal Palace striker came and conquered as the new Irish cult hero at Lansdowne Road last night.
Morrison was introduced as a substitute by Irish boss Mick McCarthy on 52 minutes taking over from Leeds United's Robbie Keane.
And he make an immediate impact, fighting for every ball with one early cross from the right almost turned in by fellow substitute David Connolly.
Then a glancing header following a cross from the left allowed Morrison to get in a difficult angled header just over the top.
The 27,000 Lansdowne Road crowd were really warming to a player who looks to have a lengthy international career ahead of him.
A long ball out of defence by Andy O'Brien enabled Morrison to produce a perfect 30-yard ball up field for Connolly. Unfortunately the Wimbledon man drove wide of the target when well placed.
But then came that magic moment with a goal in his first international after 78 minutes. Connolly crossed to Jason McAteer and when his shot was blocked, Morrison had the simple task of steering his shot home into an unguarded net.
The Lansdowne roar erupted, Morrison kissed his Irish jersey and was then engulfed by his celebrating team-mates.
The Palace man's performance was in distinct contrast to the debut's made by Millwall's Stephen Reid and Manchester United reserve defender John O'Shea.
Reid seemed a little over awed by the occasion in those opening 45 minutes and missed one early tackle.
In one midfield move he elected to pass to Lee Carsley when it might have been more productive to supply the ball to the unmarked Roy Keane.
But Reid can take some pleasure from the fact it was his cross from the right that led to Ireland's opening goal on 21 minutes.
The Croatian defence failed to effect a proper clearance and Roy Keane produced the superb opening for Damien Duff to hammer home his first Irish goal in 21 internationals.
The Millwall man seemed to have problems adjusting to the pace of the game. But it would be foolish to right off his future international prospects. After all, last Saturday was only his first game in the English First Division. Time in on his side.
The same applies to Manchester United defender O'Shea, the 17th substitute on the field in the 84th minute when taking over from Leeds defender Gary Kelly.
O'Shea looked composed playing alongside Newcastle's Andy O'Brien until that nightmare hand-ball in the third minute of added time.
Davor Suker made no mistake with his spot kick. O'Shea's great days are all in the future.