Manager Stephen Kenny got the win he was desperately in need of with a first win in 13 competitive games.
A Callum Robinson brace had Ireland in the ascendancy, before substitute Chiedozie Ogbene rounded off the scoring in the closing stages for a 3-0 victory in Baku.
A clean sheet, a win, and many chances created.
Here is how we rated the Boys in Green.
Gavin Bazunu 7
Aside one shaky claim from a corner, another solid performance as the Firhouse man looks to have tightened his grip on the number one shirt. A late save from Gara Garayev, when he tipped a swirling shot onto the bar, was as good as any produced in the Serbia game.
Shane Duffy 6
A mixed evening for the Derryman, who has been in tremendous form for Brighton & Hove Albion. The towering centre-half showed a couple of shaky moments with the ball at his feet, and Josh Cullen was less than impressed with a first-half hospital pass that almost yielded a chance for the home side. Missed a great chance with his head late on before seeing another firm header brilliantly saved.
John Egan 6
A solid evening's work from the stand-in captain, who won the toss before kick-off and then won virtually everything in the game, with the exception of a cynical tackle on Emreli that earned him a yellow card. Put his body in the way of everything that came at him and rarely looked disturbed.
Andrew Omobamidele 7
The Norwich City man maybe had more to do in defence than he would have expected against the Azeris, but he showed maturity with and without the ball, using his anticipation to snuff out some threatening breaks and playing out with confidence.
Matt Doherty 6
Industrious performance from the wing-back, who would have liked to see more of the ball at his feet but was constrained by his team-mates' inability to keep the ball. Showed glimpses of the threat he offers in attack and one brilliant run into the box should have led to Robinson's hat-trick.
Josh Cullen 7
While Ireland struggled to keep possession for the first hour, Cullen was at the heart of much of Ireland's best play during it, beginning with an incisive, positive forward pass to kick off the move that led to Robinson's ninth-minute opener.
Jeff Hendrick 6
Has shown signs of returning to the form that saw him become a key player from the Euro 2016 campaign, and this was another solid performance from the midfielder, whose selfless forward runs helped put the Azeri defence on their heels and leave the space exploited by Robinson for the two goals.
James McClean 6
Great feet and a deft pass to set up Robinson for the opening goal, and one outstanding defensive read to bail out his defence as Alaskarov looked set to shoot, but didn't do enough with the ball for the remainder of the game and a plethora of blocked shots sums up the frustration of his evening.
Daryl Horgan 4
The former Dundalk man started the game well and had the first chance inside the opening three minutes, but the wild shot with players better placed in the centre was a sign of things to come. Hooked at the break for Jamie McGrath.
Callum Robinson 9
By far the striker's best performance in green (or white) and he took his two goals masterfully - the finish for the first sublime from a standing start, and the movement to create the second just as good. Should have taken at least one of his second-half chances to seal the hat-trick, but overall a great performance to show just what Ireland have missed during his illness absences.
Adam Idah 4
Was a late inclusion in the matchday squad after arriving in Baku with a temperature, and he looked every inch a player who was suffering the effects of a cold. His movement was lethargic and his touch loose compared to what we've come to expect, but there are mitigating factors for that.
Jamie McGrath 7
A really strong cameo from the St Mirren man, another of the former Dundalk crew, who showed a clean set of heels to Huseynov to create a chance early in the second half and helped Ireland to get hold of the ball in tight areas and move up the pitch.
Chiedozie Ogbene 7
A first competitive appearance for the Corkman and a first international goal as his last-minute header finally put the game to bed for Ireland. Showed something a little different with intelligent inward runs behind the Azeri defence causing them unfamiliar problems, and his cross for Duffy should have led to an assist.
Troy Parrott N/A
Not on long enough to rate
Conor Hourihane N/A
Not on long enough to rate