The result overall was a satisfactory one as the visitors stole a point at the same venue in the European qualifiers last year and had humbled Ireland 5-2 on their home turf the previous year.
After an away win (against Georgia) and draw (against Montenegro), tonight’s three points help keep Ireland in contention with Italy at the top of Group 8.
The home side struck early, courtesy of Damien Duff’s beating two players before chipping past the goalie to a waiting Keane who headed the ball into an empty net.
An energetic Irish side had much the better of the first half, with Duff, who was returning to international action after a layoff, and Kevin Doyle doing particularly well.
However, Cyprus managed to get back into it midway through the 2nd half. The visitors often strung passes together with ease, with only the final touch letting them down.
A nervous crowd saw Ireland preserve their 1-0 advantage thanks mainly to the work of central defender Richard Dunne and goalkeeper Shay Given.
Ireland recovered their composure in the last quarter enough to threaten again. But they had to endure some more scary moments before the final whistle.
Ireland: Given, McShane, Dunne, O’Shea, Kilbane, McGeady, D Gibson, G Whelan, D Duff, R Keane, Doyle.
Cyprus: Georgallides, Elia, Charalambous, Constantinou, Garpozis, Christofi, Makridis, Maragos, Aloneftis, Okkas,_Konstantinou.
In other Group 8 action, Italy beat Montenegro 2-1 in a home tie in Lecce, while 40,000 people in Tbilisi saw Georgia fail to deliver their first win against the visiting Bulgarians. It finished 0-0
Meanwhile in Belfast, Northern Ireland beat San Marino 4-0 in Group 3. England are now top Group 6 after a 3-1 win in Belarus. In Group 4, Germany did just enough to secure three home points in a 1-0 game against Wales.