James McClean scored his third goal in two games for the Republic of Ireland to give them the lead in Vienna.
The West Brom winger latched on to a pass from Wes Hoolahan to fire home two minutes into the second half in the World Cup qualifier against Austria.
Ireland had survived a goalmouth scramble to head for half-time goalless - though Jonathan Walters almost nicked a precious goal just before the break.
Austria flew out of the blocks and Ireland found themselves having to defend for dear life in the early stages.
Marcel Sabitzer beat the advancing Darren Randolph with a delicate 39th-minute chip, but saw his effort come back off the woodwork as the Austrians were unable to make the most of their first-half dominance.
They might have paid at the death when Walters clipped the bar at the other end from Robbie Brady's cross at the end of a rare Ireland attack.
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