An injury time goal from Shane Duffy rescued a point for Stephen Kenny in his first game in charge of the Republic of Ireland.
It finished Bulgaria 1 Ireland 1 in Sofia in their opening Nations League encounter.
Duffy who secured a loan move to Scottish Champions Celtic earlier in the week salvaged a draw for the Irish with a powerful header.
Kenny handed a debut to Norwich striker Adam Idah up front, while Matt Doherty was preferred to Seamus Coleman at right-back.
Coleman didn't feature in the game.
Ireland play Finland next on Sunday.