"We're going to put heart and soul into the match and try and beat a side who probably - technically - are better than us".
The Boys in Green hold a 100 per cent record against Georgia in eight meetings since 2003 and head into the clash as firm favourites.
O'Neill spoke beforehand about the need for Ireland to keep possession, but acknowledged afterwards: We didn't do that well enough.
According to RTÉ's stats, Georgia had 76% possession in the first half.
Many believe that Whelan being captain of the Ireland side sums up just how poor O'Neill's side is right now, with many failing to understand just how he still plays such an important role.
He had three strikers - Shane Long, Jonathan Walters and Daryl Murphy - and wingers James McClean and Aiden McGeady on the pitch for a late onslaught during which McGeady, who scored a last-gasp victor at the same stadium three years ago, fired over from close range in stoppage time.
Maybe the sting of that harsh reality suffered against the football nation ranked 112 will produce a different, much more intense Ireland against Serbia in Dublin tomorrow night.
Now 24, he was linked with both Arsenal and Liverpool during his days as a prodigious teenager in 2009.
In fact, entirely the opposite and Aiden McGeady's introduction underlined the point.
But this evening, Ananidze showed why he has been so highly rated.
"The second half was slightly better and in the last 20 minutes we had the better chances even though we didn't play well".
Lenovo Immerses into Windows Mixed Reality with Lenovo Explorer
The Fall Creators Update also includes an improved Game Mode , and a new GPU resource tracker now resided in Task Manager. The Explorer ships in October, and the pricing will seem very familiar if you've read about other WMR headsets.
Having frequently looked unsafe, tormenting Ireland throughout the first half with his clever movement and incisive passing, Ananidze provided the moment of class needed to break down the defensively stubborn visitors.
The hosts would eventually equalise before the break, with Valeri Qazaishvili netting after a good passing move.
Georgia's players celebrate their equaliser. In that Republic of Ireland is with three wins and three draws whereas the team Georgia is with three loss and three draws.
Despite many writing off their hopes of qualification, Ireland secured an unlikely place at the tournament in France thanks in part to this surprise result. The Bournemouth man will be disappointed with his performance.
Ultimately, this 1-1 draw could be looked back upon as the moment where it all unraveled for Martin O'Neill's men.
In the second half we improved, we had three big chances to win the game and it was unfortunate one didn't go in; although it would have been harsh on them.
Wes Hoolahan was left out despite being instrumental in the victor in Vienna.
I've never followed the fashion about Hoolahan that he should play in every game. Serbia have opened up a two-point lead thanks to their victory over Moldova and third-placed Wales can narrow the gap with a favourable result against Austria tonight.
"One thing I would say, though, is that I think as a country and as a management, they have got it spot on in the sense that they pick players in the end purely based on ability and if it is and English-born player that deserves to play, they play him". The midfield was disjointed as was the attack.
James McClean, who saw a late chance saved, admitted it had been a lacklustre Republic of Ireland display.