Unsettled Nottingham Forest midfielder Andy Reid did his market value no harm by starring in the Republic of Ireland's draw with Bulgaria.
Andy Reid's free-kick deceived the Bulgarian goalkeeper
Reid's 19th-minute free-kick had a touch of fortune but he went on to produce a man-of-the-match display for Brian Kerr's side at Lansdowne Road.
Clinton Morrison had a couple of further efforts for the Irish while Gary Doherty wasted a good chance.
But the Irish were punished when Valeri Bojinov equalised in the 70th minute.
The home side almost made the worst possible start when captain Kenny Cunningham gave the ball away in midfield with less than a minute gone.
Dimitar Berbatov scampered clear but bobbled a poor shot wide of target when a
goal seemed inevitable.
Ireland responded in the eighth minute when Kevin Kilbane flicked a Duff cross back across goal but Morrison's header carried little power and goalkeeper Zdravko Zdravkov got down to save.
Reid's first international goal came direct from his free-kick from 35 yards out on the left which eluded everybody in the box before bouncing past Zdravkov.
Roy Keane challenges Bulgaria's Dimitar Berbatov
Kilbane then forced Zdravkov into another save with a fine long-range strike as
Gary Doherty - set for a move to Norwich - then flashed a header over the bar from a Liam Miller corner.
And Kilbane came even closer when he nodded the ball across the face of goal
from Duff's corner in the 39th minute.
Kerr made one change at half-time, giving Gary Breen the chance to impress in
defence in place of Doherty.
The lively Morrison whacked in a shot from the left side of the box which Zdravkov punched clear.
Reid produced another good cross from the left on the hour but Steve Finnan's
flick back fell behind Morrison.
The Birmingham striker made way for Jon Macken's international debut in the 63rd
The changes seemed to affect the Irish team and Valeri Bojinov and Vladimir Manchev both went close as Bulgaria made a belated bid to get back on level terms.
The equaliser arrived in the 70th minute when Bojinov capitalised upon hesitation in the Irish box to lash a powerful half-volley past Given.
Damien Duff had a chance to restore the Irish lead five minutes later but he shot high into the side-netting from the left side of the box.
Substitute Alan Quinn went close late on but his low shot was grabbed by Zdravkov.
Rep of Ireland: Given (Kenny 72), Finnan (Alan Quinn 72),
O'Shea, Cunningham, Doherty (Breen 45),
Roy Keane (Kavanagh 64), Miller (Carr 52), Kilbane, Andy Reid,
Morrison (Macken 64), Duff.
Subs Not Used: Maybury, Colgan, Barrett, Connolly.
Goals: Andy Reid 15.
Bulgaria: Zdravkov, Kishishev, Kirilov, Markov, Yankov,
Berbatov (Gargarov 45), Lazarov (Manchev 56),
Hristov (Yanev 45), Stilian Petrov, Bozhinov,
Stoyanov (Topuzakov 64), Ivankov (Kamburov 77).
Subs Not Used: Ivankov, Kotev.
Goals: Bozhinov 70.
Ref: I Brines (Scotland).