Whelan played the opening 45 minutes before being replaced at half-time by Paul Green, and now looks to the future.
"We said it's 2013, it's a new start, and we wanted to get the right result and get people back onside. Hopefully we've done that.
"It's a good result on a tricky pitch against a decent team.
"With the new faces coming in, it was a little bit of pressure on them, but I thought they did really well. I think everyone is happy – especially with Jeff (Hendrick) laying on Wes (Hoolahan) for a goal."
Debutant Hendrick (21) said: "I'm delighted I got on. For the goal, I was just happy I didn't lose the ball really, because they could have broken away on us. It was a great finish from Wes and a good win for the lads."
Hoolahan brought the home fans to their feet with his classy take on the chest before firing the ball home.
The Norwich midfielder couldn't have asked for a better way to keep the pressure on Giovanni Trapattoni to find a way to use him in the side.
"It was a great ball by Jeff. Just delighted to see it go in," he said.
Hoolahan's instructions when he came on as a sub were to tuck in behind Conor Sammon and give support to the striker when he got the chance – "the same job I do for Norwich," he said.
On his prospects in the coming months, the ex-Shelbourne favourite played a straight bat, saying: I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and see how we go."
Sammon was delighted to get the full 90 minutes and rued the chance he missed to get on the scoresheet on his debut.
The Dubliner said: "I got a good touch away from the defender and I should have toe-poked it at the goal instead of taking the second touch, but I loved it out there."