"It was a perfect night," Whelan is quoted as saying by Sky Sports News. "At 1-0, you are still in with a chance. It's the Irish spirit, the Irish passion. You keep going until the death.
"They are tough places to go, and especially against the world champions in their own back yard with their crowd, but it was the performance that we needed for ourselves in the dressing room to kick on and have the belief that we can do something in this campaign."
Ireland's qualifying campaign resumes on November 14 when they face Scotland in Glasgow.