Troy Parrott believes the win away to Andorra can be the spark for better days for the Republic of Ireland side.
The 19-year old scored twice - his first international goals - in a 4-1 friendly victory in the Principality.
Jason Knight and Daryl Horgan also broke their international ducks, helping Stephen Kenny to a first victory as manager at the twelfth time of asking.
"In my opinion I think people should be excited," Parrott said after the game, "Everyone's pushing each other in training, the older lads are helping the younger lads and trying to almost give them experience through words.
"I think people should be excited."
After some appalling defending allowed Andorra to take a shock lead through Marc Vales, Ireland rallied, led in the main by Parrott.
Five minutes after the Andorran goal, the 19-year old cut inside the hosts' defence, firing low beyond the grasp of Iker Alvarez.
It should have been 2-1 just a minute later, but Ronan Curtis fluffed his lines when played through by the Tottenham striker.
Just after the hour mark, Ireland finally had the lead when Alvarez failed to keep out a Parrott header which came about from a Hourihane cross.
"It feels amazing, to be fair," Parrott said of his first international goals, "[the] stuff you dream of when you're growing up.
"The most important thing is the win, though, it's good to get that."
A bright ten minutes fizzled out, however, and Ireland again looked shaky with Kenny making plenty of changes - including a debut appearance for Jamie McGrath.
But it was Daryl Horgan who facilitated Ireland's third. The Wycombe winger sent an irresistible in-swinger from the left flank which was met by Jason Knight who poked it home.
A minute from time, Horgan and Knight switched roles, with the former heading in the Derby midfielder's cross from the right.
Parrott's happiness was two-fold, as it ended a floundering season with a flourish.
He failed to make a breakthrough in his initial loan at Millwall, before dropping to League One with Ipswich.
Parrott started 13 games with the Tractor Boys, scoring twice - including a goal in their final game of the season against Fleetwood. But he returns to Tottenham with his future uncertain.
"It's been a tough season, to be fair," he said, "I've got a lot of criticism.
"It's finished the way I wanted it to go the whole time, but things don't really always go to plan.
"I'm really really happy to end the season strong."
Parrott says that criticism makes him "want to do even better", but the pressure of playing for his country is one he enjoys.
"Every time you put that shirt on, it's a feeling that can't be described," he said, "It's unbelievable."
"Yeah it's been a tricky season, but overall I've got a lot of game time and there's been a couple of goals in there as well."