First start for Westwwod
First International goal for Lawrence
Paddy Mc Carthy called back into squad first call up since 2005
Republic of Ireland 1 South Africa 0
Republic of Ireland continued their encouraging run with a 1-0 victory over World Cup hosts South Africa in Limerick.
Liam Lawrence scored the crucial goal in the 37th minute as he curled an excellent free-kick past Rowen Fernandez and into the top corner.
South Africa had enjoyed the majority of possession in the early stages but failed to carve out a significant chance, while Caleb Folan had a strong penalty appeal turned down for Republic.
There was little goalmouth action in the second period either, although Lawrence did squander a good opportunity to grab a second.
South Africa pushed forward in pursuit of an equaliser in the closing minutes but Republic's defence stood firm as they warmed up for next month's crucial World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Montenegro with a win.
Giovanni Trapattoni challenged those members of his squad who have largely provided the back-up during the World Cup campaign to make a case for their future inclusion.
For long periods during the opening 45 minutes, the hosts found themselves on the back foot as the excellent Steven Pienaar prompted the likes of Blackburn new boy Elrio van Heerden and strikers Katlego Mphela and Bernard Parker.
It was they who created most of the chances before the break, although goalkeeper Keiren Westwood was never under the kind of pressure he perhaps should have been.
Defender Morgan Gould skied a first-minute effort high over the bar, as did Mphela 10 minutes later, while midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi saw another effort deflected wide by Stephen Kelly after he surged towards goal.
Pienaar curled a 22nd-minute free-kick just over Westwood's bar, and the Everton man threatened to play Mphela in on several occasions - with central defenders Paul McShane and Sean St Ledger repeatedly at full stretch, particularly when their side was temporarily reduced to 10 men while striker Folan had four stitches put into a head wound.
But Pienaar was booked for blocking Lawrence's original free-kick after breaking early from the defensive wall - and although Van Heerden was similarly premature from the re-take, the Stoke man sent the ball arcing into the top corner.
Ireland returned determined after the break - and with Folan and captain Kevin Doyle pushing their markers ever deeper and Darron Gibson and Keith Andrews tigerish in central midfield.
Joel Santana's side continued with their enterprising approach but Gibson kept Fernandez on his toes with a 25-yard drive which sailed just wide of the far post.
Leon Best, who had come on as a 59th-minute replacement for Doyle, forced Fernandez into a solid block within two minutes - and Lawrence was devastated to see his follow-up deflected agonisingly wide.
A spate of substitutions sent the game into something of a lull as both sides attempted to re-adjust, but it took a vital close-range block from substitute Darren O'Dea to deny Pienaar an equaliser.
Best three times went close to a second goal inside the final 10 minutes as the Republic finished strongly.
Republic of Ireland: Keiren Westwood (Coventry City); Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Sean St. Ledger (Preston North End), Paul McShane (Hull City), Eddie Nolan (Preston North End); Liam Lawrence (Stoke City), Darron Gibson (Manchester United), Keith Andrews (Blackburn Rovers), Andy Keogh (Wolves); Kevin Doyle (Wolves) - captain, Caleb Folan (Hull City).
Substitutes: Leon Best (Coventry City) for Doyle 59; Darren O'Dea (Celtic/Reading) for McShane 62; Damien Duff (Fulham) for Keogh 78.
South Africa: Fernandez; Gaxa, Mokoena, Gould, Masilela; Van Heerden, Parker, Dikgacoi, Pienaar, Mhlongo; Mphela.
Substitutes: Mabhudi for Van Heerden 59; Tshabalala for Parker 63; Kenyekane for Mphela 74; Thwala for Masilela 78; Ngobeni for Dikgacoi 81.