Much of the pre-match hype focused around Ashley Cole, who captained the side and received a commemorative cap for his 100th international appearance, but Shane Long gave Ireland the lead after 13 minutes.
© PA Photos
Seamus Coleman picked out the West Bromwich Albion striker, who escaped the attentions of Glen Johnson and planted a header into the top corner.
© AP Photos
Soon after, Theo Walcott, who gave Stephen Kelly a torrid time in the first half, skipped past the Reading full-back and fired the ball across the six-yard box, but Sean St Ledger managed to scramble the ball away.
Sturridge left the field on a stretcher minutes after setting up England's equaliser, with Tottenham Hotspur forward Jermain Defoe replacing him.
As the half wore on, England carved out a number of goalscoring opportunities, but first Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and then Walcott fired straight at Forde as the away side held on to secure a draw in front of more than 80,000 fans.