Despite undeservedly going behind on the half-hour, Derrick Williams with a towering header, Seáni Maguire with another cracker from distance and Callum Robinson also with his first international goal sealed a deserved win for Ireland.
The All-Whites kicked off against Ireland who are wearing a smart new all-bottle green kit.
Troy Parrott becomes, at 17, the youngest Irish international since Robbie Keane in an Irish side hoping to find a solution to a goalscoring problem never really resolved since Keane’s retirement.
Parrott has a couple of early involvements but he is on the end of some heavy handed Kiwi defending.
Parrott is put through on goal in the fifth minute but he is flagged for offside before he can play the ball past visiting keeper Marinovic.
Jack Byrne looks lively, seeking – and getting the ball regularly and pinging good 10-15 yard passes.
A nice ball around the corner from Browne finds Williams who should have scored but he plays his 15 yard effort well wide.
Ireland have a penalty shout on 17 minutes when, following a free-flowing move, Byrne finds Brady who plays in Parrott who is shoved in the back by Boxall. Referee Robert Jenkins waves play on however to the anger of the home crowd.
Maguire is played in by a good long ball over the top from Long which is misjudged by Boxall but the goalkeeper makes a good stop. The ball falls to Williams but nothing comes of it.
Ireland should be at least one up midway through the first half. Ireland goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara must be feeling the chill.
Byrne has a chance when played in by Parrott but can’t convert from ten yards out.
Williams makes a great last ditch tackle and O’Hara punches clear the follow-up as the All-Whites make their first penetrative attack in the 26th minute.
New Zealand take the lead very much against the run of play on the half hour when Wood finds Cacace who plays the ball across for Callum McCowatt to tap into the empty net from eight yards out and score on his debut.
Brady plays a high ball into the six yard box but Maguire was never likely to win the header.
Maguire then comes close from an unmarked header six yard out but his effort flashes a yard wide.
Derrick Williams scores a deserved equalizer for Ireland on the stroke of half-time with a towering header from Brady’s corner from eight yards out into the bottom corner of the net.
Seáni Maguire scores his first senior international goal early in the second half. When a scramble just outside the box finds the former Cork City man he finds the top corner of the net from more than 20 yards out.
Callum O’Dowda comes on for goalscorer Williams after 55 minutes.
Byrne finds Maguire in acres of space before he’s closed down but he plays in Parrott. The advancing Marinovic does very well to block the Dubliner’s effort.
On the hour mark, Thomas runs through the heart of the Irish defence, avoiding two would be tacklers before striking a tame-ish 20 yard effort which O’Hara scoops into danger but O’Connor clears.
Another pair of substitutions for the home side as Robinson and Judge replace Parrott and Byrne on 62 minutes.
Goalkeeper Marinovic makes another good save from Maguire who had more time than he realised when found in space ten yards out.
The changes continue as goalkeeper O’Hara makes way for Mark Travers and it’s one Corkman for another as Conor Hourihane replaces Alan Browne on 65 minutes.
Marinovic forced into another save, this time from Robinson, though he would have been disappointed to be beaten at his near post.
Goascorer Maguire is replaced in the 73rd minute by James Collins as New Zealand make a pair of substitutions themselves.
Robinson wraps up the win with his first goal for Ireland in the 75th minute with a close range header from a fantastic O’Connor cross.
Travers is forced into a late save. Meanwhile it’s opposite number Marinovic who was definitely New Zealand’s best player on the night as Seáni Maguire earns the man of the match award, though it was a very good display all round by Ireland.
All eyes now turn to Monday night and the make-or-break clash with old rivals Denmark. How many of tonight’s team will feature in four days’ time? Probably not many but manager Mick McCarthy definitely has options going into that game.
Republic of Ireland: Kieran O’Hara (Mark Travers 65); Lee O’Connor, Kevin Long, Ciaran Clark, Derrick Williams (Callum O’Dowda 55 mins); Alan Browne (Conor Hourihane 65), Jack Byrne (Alan Judge 62), Josh Cullen, Robbie Brady (c); Troy Parrott (Callum Robinson 62), Seáni Maguire (James Collins 73).
New Zealand: Marinovic, Reid (c), Cacace, Boxall, Bell, Wood, Singh, McCowatt, Thomas (McGlinchey 75), Roux, Just.
Referee: Robert Jenkins (Wales)