The Republic of Ireland have strengthened their hopes of a World Cup play-off spot after outclassing a hapless Georgia side 9-0 in their Group A qualifier in Gori.

Vera Pauw's side entered the game at Tengiz Burjanadze Stadium knowing seven points from their remaining three games will be enough to see them claim a play-off place as they look to become the first Irish team to ever qualify for a major championships, and the result was never in doubt against a side who have failed to score in seven qualifiers, conceding 50 in the process.

Katie McCabe's brace bookended goals from Niamh Fahey and Megan Connolly to give the visitors a 4-0 half-time lead, and it was to get worse after the break with Louis Quinn claiming a brace of headers, McCabe taking home the matchball with her third on the night, 17-year-old Abbie Larkin opening her international account and the dynamic Denise O'Sullivan rounding off the scoring in injury-time.

The comprehensive win in Gori moves Ireland into second place in Group A, a point ahead of Finland.

The goal difference is stretched out to +20, compared to Finland's +8, with the Finns and Slovakia providing the opposition in Ireland's final two games in the September double-header.

It was the ideal start for the visitors when McCabe gave Ireland a sixth-minute lead.

O'Sullivan picked up possession in a dangerous position and spotting captain McCabe making a run into the area from wing-back, threaded the ball in her path. The Arsenal star controlled with her first touch, and rifled past goalkeeper Gabunia.

It set about the early pattern of play and there was little surprise when shortly after the advantage was doubled courtesy of Ireland's centre-halves.

Quinn met Connolly's high corner and nodded it back across goal where her defensive partner Fahey, in her 104th international game, pounced for her first goal for Ireland.

With the Georgians hemmed in, it was relentless attacking from Vera Pauw’s side and the third goal arrived in the 18th minute.

McCabe, involved in so much of Ireland’s forward play, curled a delicious in-swinging corner that Connolly was on hand to prod home.

At that point it very much appeared that a repeat of last November's 11-0 demolition was on the cards, but aside from a rasping effort from McCabe that was tipped onto the crossbar, Ireland lost a little of their fluid interplay, with shot execution and final pass letting them down on occasions as the tempo dropped.

However the Girls in Green grabbed a fourth with almost the final play of the half when McCabe did manage her second of the night, taking a short corner and while she slipped when making contact with the ball just inside the area, it flew over the head of Gabunia for a healthy-looking interval scoreline.

Pauw may have reminded her team of the need to remain on the foot on the gas because they began the second half in a similar fashion to the first.

O'Sullivan tested the keeper from distance and a minute later, Quinn got on the scoresheet.

The centre-half met yet another inviting Connolly cross to rise highest and power her header past Gaubina.

Goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan was reduced to the role of spectator for most of the contest, but was called on to make a smart save in the 69th-minute.

The Birmingham City player's second was also from the head, this time from a McCabe delivery before the team captain claimed her hat-trick with a quarter of an hour to go.

Connolly picked out the attacker in the penalty area and her deft finish made it 7-0.

Teenager Abbie Larkin marked her introduction with her first international goal, while there was still time for Denise O'Sullivan to get in on the scoring act.

The midfielder showed a cool head to control a cross and finish with aplomb to wrap up a comprehensive win for the visitors.