The Three Lions might be ranked seventh in the world but they were made to look decidedly ordinary by their near neighbours, who sit 32 places lower in the FIFA standings.
Shane Long gave Ireland a shock 13th-minute lead at Wembley, only for Frank Lampard to prod home a leveller 10 minutes later.
There were to be no more goals in what was the countries' first meeting since 1995 and, despite struggling to get going, centre-back Cahill remained upbeat afterwards.
"It was a tough workout," the Chelsea defender said. "I thought they made it hard for us, which you would expect.
"They have got some hard-working, determined players in there and they made it difficult for us.
"Nevertheless, we played some good stuff. I thought we got in behind the back of them on many occasions but just maybe lacked that final ball and the goalkeeper pulled off a couple of good saves.
"I think there are positives we can take from it."
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott both saw attempts to find a second-half winner thwarted, while Ashley Cole came close to capping his 102nd appearance with a goal.
The Chelsea left-back was handed the captaincy at Wembley and almost squeezed home his first goal in an England shirt shortly into the second period.
"I see he popped in there but they defended that well," Cahill said. "I thought he was magnificent today and played really well before he came off.
"It is an amazing achievement - playing for England for 12 years and to rack up that many is a phenomenal achievement.
"He has been one of the best left-backs in the world for many, many years now."
England now jet off to South America for a friendly against 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil.
Roy Hodgson's side beat them for the first time in 23 years in February and Cahill wants to prove that 2-1 win at Wembley was no flash in the pan.
"It is one to look forward to," he added. "We have got a big flight now and then a couple of days training.
"We played really well against them at Wembley a couple of months ago.
"We know the task ahead is going to be hard. They are playing at home so it is going to be tough for us.
"But, like I said, we played some good stuff against them at home and hopefully we can put in a good performance."