Sean Boylan's Ireland outscored Australia by 12 points in the final quarter to clinch a 48 (1-12-6) - 40 (1-9-7) victory in last night's International Rules first Test at Pearse Stadium.
The last-minute combination of an over from Steven McDonnell and Joe Bergin's goal saw the Irish win out. The success maintained Australia's record of not having won a Test match on Irish soil since 2002.
Ireland led 16-4 after the first quarter, but a goal from Sydney’s Ryan O'Keefe had the Aussies 33-29 ahead by the end of the third.
Sean Cavanagh and McDonnell, who top-scored for Ireland with 15 points, missed goal chances before O'Keefe fired past Alan Quirke on 52 minutes.
The second Test is at Croke Park next Sunday, with already 60,000 tickets sold for the capital clash.
The sold-out signs were up well in advance of tonight's tie in Salthill as 30,000 spectators thronged the seaside venue, including for the season that is in it 'Superman' and a 'sheik', and a topless man who ran onto the field, delaying the final quarter, before being tackled by a Garda.
Ireland's accurate kicking helped them get off to an imposing start as they struck four overs and a behind inside the first quarter. Laois' Tom Kelly and Armagh man Kieran McGeeney, back in the hybrid game and chosen as captain, were particularly prominent in the opening exchanges as Boylan's men sought to put down a marker.
The best over of the first quarter fell to O'Keefe's Swans team-mate Tadhg Kennelly as the Kerryman finished a lung-bursting run with a cracking score off his right.
Australia's only over in the first 20 minutes arrived from the boot of another Sydney player, Barry Hall, who will skipper the Aussies for the second Test.
As has been the case over the years, the Aussies improved as the game went on with their tight defence in the second quarter a factor in them trailing by only seven points - 21-14 - at the half-time interval.
Kevin Sheedy's visitors, playing some neat football and using their physicality and aerial skills, got on top for the third quarter. They managed four overs to Ireland's two, with Nick Davis' second effort levelling the game for the first time.
O'Keefe pounced, with six minutes left in the quarter, to hand his side a short-lived seven-point lead before Armagh star McDonnell notched his second over, cutting the gap to four points.
Ireland got off to the worst possible start in the fourth quarter when Meath veteran Graham was given his marching orders for earning the game's first yellow card. There were hardly any flashpoints in what was a fairly-contested tie.
With the minutes ticking down, overs from Bergin and McDonnell got Ireland back in contention and the latter then swerved onto his right to thump over his fourth over to give Ireland the lead again.
A rushed kick-out which saw Adam Selwood dispossessed, fell to McDonnell and he picked out hometown hero Bergin who failed to panic, in acres of space, and drilled home the clinching goal.
SCORERS: IRELAND - S McDonnell 15 points, J Bergin 9, G Geraghty 5, A Brogan 4, S Cavanagh 3, T Kennelly 3, P Barden 3, C Begley 3, D Earley 3
AUSTRALIA - R O'Keefe 18 points, N Davis 6, B Hall 6, M Lappin 4, A Davey 3, D Pearce 1, B Stanton 1, N Voss 1